Taliban attack on police headquarters kills 12 in Afghanistan’s Kandahar

Taliban attack on police headquarters kills 12 in Afghanistan’s Kandahar
Afghan security forces arrive after a powerful explosion outside the provincial police headquarters in Kandahar province south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, July 18, 2019. A Taliban fighter in southern Kandahar province attacked the police headquarters with a car bomb, killing himself and at least nine others and wounding dozens more, officials said. (AP)
Updated 18 July 2019

Taliban attack on police headquarters kills 12 in Afghanistan’s Kandahar

Taliban attack on police headquarters kills 12 in Afghanistan’s Kandahar
  • Taliban said in a statement their fighters had detonated two car bombs and entered police offices
  • Insurgents have managed to conduct a series of bloody attacks in Kandahar in recent months

KABUL: At least 12 people were killed and 60 wounded on Thursday after Taliban fighters struck a gate outside police headquarters in the Afghan city of Kandahar on Thursday, police and government officials said.
The attack comes as Taliban and Afghan representatives, including some government officials, agreed earlier this month to a basic road map for negotiating the country’s political future, a major step that could help propel peace efforts to end the long war, now in its 18th year.
The Taliban said in a statement their fighters had detonated two car bombs and entered the police offices in Kandahar, the former seat of the Taliban when they ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until they were ousted by a US-led coalition in 2001.
Tadeen Khan Achakzai, the police chief for Kandahar, said insurgents had used a “car bomb” to strike the main police station of the province while Kandahar’s governor, Hayatullah Hayat, told reporters 12 people, including civilians, were killed in the attack and 60 more were wounded.
Thick plumes of smoke could be seen rising from the site of the attack, caused by the first blast which the Taliban said was a suicide bombing. Several more explosions were heard later after at least three Taliban fighters managed to make their way into the compound, witnesses said.
Experts say after a lapse of many months, the Taliban had once more become active in Kandahar and had managed to conduct a series of bloody attacks in recent months there. The Taliban also killed at least 30 commandos in one single attack in the southwestern Badghis province, one of the deadliest single incidents for the force.
However, according to local and foreign estimates, even more civilians have been killed in pro-government raids in the past two weeks, sparking protests against the government.
Taliban and government forces have also suffered casualties in battles in various parts of the country.
A Taliban infiltrator on Wednesday killed one government general in Ghazni province while the head of guards protecting President Ashraf Ghani’s personal residence, another general, succumbed to his injuries in an explosion in his car in Kabul.
A Swedish aid group recently shut down over 40 of its medical clinics in Wardak province after it said the Taliban had ordered them to do so.
The meeting of Afghans and the pledge of the two main warring sides in Qatar, following seventh rounds of talks between the Taliban and US diplomats, has raised hope of reduction of violence, now dampened by recent attacks.
US and Taliban officials are expected to resume talks in the near future, with the withdrawal of US-led troops from Afghanistan being a main sticking point in the discussion.