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General Security Situation in Afghanistan and Events in Kabul

ecoi.net's featured topics offer an overview on selected issues. The featured topic for Afghanistan covers the general security situation, and a chronology of security-related events in Kabul since January 2011. This featured topic is presented in the form of excerpts from documents, all coming from sources available on ecoi.net. Compiled by ACCORD.

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 Last update: 19 June 2017
 
1. Overview of the security situation in Afghanistan
1.1. State and Non-State Actors
1.1.1. Afghan Government and Security Forces
1.1.2. Insurgent Groups
1.2. Security Situation: Overview
2. Security Situation in Kabul
2.1. Timeline of Attacks in Kabul since 2016
3. Sources
 
 

1. Overview of the security situation in Afghanistan

 
“Afghanistan is an Islamic Republic with a directly elected president, a bicameral legislative branch, and a judicial branch.” (USDOS, 3 March 2017, Executive Summary)[i]
 
“The U.S. government estimates the total population at 32.6 million (July 2015 estimate)” (USDOS, 10 August 2016, section 1)
 
“Further hindering Afghanistan is that its economy and society are still fragile after decades of warfare that left about 2 million dead, 700,000 widows and orphans, and about 1 million Afghan children raised in refugee camps outside Afghanistan. Millions of Afghan refugees have since returned, although as many as 2.7 million remain outside Afghanistan (mostly in Pakistan and Iran).” (CRS, 19 May 2017, p. 52)[ii]
 
  

1.1. State and Non-State Actors


 

1.1.1. Afghan Government and Security Forces

 
“Die generelle Sicherheitsarchitektur impliziert für den afghanischen Staat grundlegende Probleme. Die drei großen Sicherheitsinstitutionen Armee, Polizei und Geheimdienst weisen überschneidende Kompetenzen und Verantwortlichkeiten auf. Sie verfügen über Einheiten, die für den Einsatz im Innern und den Kampf gegen die Aufstandsbewegung strukturiert, ausgebildet und ausgerüstet wurden. Zudem nehmen alle drei neben der Aufstandsbekämpfung auch Polizeiaufgaben war und verfügen über im Inland tätige, nachrichtendienstlich arbeitende Abteilungen. Dies ist Ursache für erhebliche Rivalitäten, die sich längst zu einem Kampf um Ressourcen, Anerkennung und – vor dem Hintergrund absehbarer Etatkürzungen – einer langfristigen Daseinsberechtigung ausgeweitet haben.
 
Im Verlauf des Jahres 2012 gelang es der ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] und der afghanischen Regierung, den personellen Aufwuchs von Armee und Polizei abzuschließen und die vorgesehene Obergrenze von etwa 352.000 Soldaten und Polizisten zu erreichen. Dieser Erfolg wird jedoch von der Tatsache getrübt, dass die ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] aufgrund von Verlusten, Desertion und Nichtverlängerung von Dienstverhältnissen jährlich zwischen einem Viertel und einem Drittel ihres Personals ersetzen müssen. Eine gemeinsame Identität und ein stärkerer innerer Zusammenhalt der einzelnen Einheiten können somit in den neu aufgestellten Streitkräften nur schwer entstehen. Zusätzlich werden auch die Anstrengungen der internationalen Gemeinschaft beeinträchtigt, durch Aus- und Fortbildung die Qualität des afghanischen Sicherheitspersonals zu heben. Die Tatsache, dass der ehemalige Präsident die Taliban seit 2009 wiederholt als ‚Brüder‘ bezeichnet hatte, hat das Feindbild der ANSF verwässert. Wie sollten sich in dieser Lage Soldaten und Polizisten, die regelmäßig Zeuge von Korruption und Amtsmissbrauch ihrer Vorgesetzten wurden und deren Oberbefehlshaber die feindlichen Kämpfer als ‚Brüder‘ bezeichneten, mit dem Staat und seinen Institutionen identifizieren? Hinzu kommen finanzielle Aspekte. Angesichts einer geringen Besoldung, die dem Risiko, getötet oder schwer verwundet zu werden, sowie einer unzureichenden medizinischen Versorgung, nicht gerecht werden konnte, waren Moral und Motivation vieler ANSF-Angehöriger, vor allem der niederen Dienstränge, lange Zeit sehr schwach ausgeprägt. Die neue Regierung in Kabul unter Ashraf Ghani und Abdullah Abdullah hat bereits im Herbst 2014 bei mehreren Truppenbesuchen auf diese Situation reagiert, um das innere Gefüge der ANSF zu stärken.
 
Dennoch hat sich die Qualität der afghanischen Sicherheitskräfte in den vergangenen Jahren stetig erhöht, was zu Erfolgen im Kampf gegen die Aufstandsbewegung und somit auch zu einem höheren Ansehen der Soldaten und Polizisten in der Zivilbevölkerung geführt hat.“ (KAS, January 2015, pp. 90-91)[iii]
 
“Since December 2014, when the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) ended its combat role in Afghanistan, the ANSF has performed reasonably well in face-to-face encounters with the Taliban. However, it failed spectacularly in defending Kunduz. Some 7,000 security personnel could not hold the city against an assault by a few hundred Taliban fighters. It lays bare the ANSF’s weakness in fighting in urban settings. Analysts observe that the fall of Kunduz is not so much the outcome of the Taliban’s fighting abilities as of the ANSF’s failures, poor leadership, and low morale.” (CACI, 15 October 2015)[iv]
 
“As casualties mounted to dramatic levels in 2015, even according to official figures that are most likely underestimated, the Afghan National Army (ANA) has for the first time begun experiencing serious problems in recruitment. The army also experienced a resurgence of ghost soldiering (soldiers who are listed as being on active duty, but who do not serve)—a problem which had been largely contained by 2010. The units most exposed in the fighting were seriously depleted and under-strength by November. The withdrawal of the mentors/advisers from the ANA tactical units in 2014 exposed a range of weaknesses in logistical capabilities, planning, procurement, equipment maintenance and administration. The resulting paradox is an ANA less mobile then the insurgents, despite the fact that it remains more or less in control of the main highways of the country. […] The tactical performance of the ANA in the midst of battle is more difficult to evaluate because reliable information is hard to come by, but sources within the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the ANA themselves concur that there is a very serious leadership problem. Appointments to senior positions are still heavily influenced by political interference, often resulting in the appointment of incompetent commanders.” (AREU, March 2016, p. 1)[v]
 
“The ANDSF are proving themselves capable in some scenarios while still developing in others – performing unevenly, but on balance continuing to improve. After mixed results and an uneven performance in 2015, advisors worked with the ANDSF to address the most significant deficiencies and gaps to help the ANDSF further develop into a more effective, sustainable, and affordable force. ANDSF performance in the first half of 2016 improved over late 2015, owing in part to the implementation of a sustainable security strategy that better allocates forces across the country, and in part as a result of incorporating lessons learned after the first year of the RS [Resolute Support] format of the NATO mission.
The ANDSF maintain a significant capability advantage over the insurgency; however, an often reactionary ANDSF strategy, force allocation and posture limitations, and persistent capability gaps in aviation, combined arms integration, intelligence collection and dissemination, and sustainment have hampered more rapid improvement in their ability to maintain security and stability.” (USDOD, June 2016, p. 3)[vi]
 
“The Afghan security forces continued to face significant challenges, in particular regarding operational capacity. Shortcomings in the areas of command and control, leadership and logistics, and high attrition rates, have a significant impact on morale, recruitment and sustainability. The intensifying conflict resulted in increasing casualties among both the security forces and the Taliban. Re-enlistment and retention rates are too low to compensate for the losses incurred through increased casualties and desertion. By February, the numbers of army troop members and Afghan National Police officers stood at 86 per cent and 94 per cent of projected levels, respectively.” (UNGA, 3 March 2017, p. 4)[vii]
 
“Some progress was achieved in improving Afghan Air Force readiness and operational engagement.” (UNGA, 13 December 2016, p. 5)
 
“From March to August, about 4,500 Afghan soldiers and police were killed and more than 8,000 wounded, according to information provided by a senior Afghan official who had seen the tallies, but like others spoke on condition of anonymity to share sensitive information. In August, the police and the army sustained about 2,800 casualties, more than a third of them fatal. Beyond that, the inability to replace the fallen has raised particular alarm among the top ranks of the Afghan government as well as its Western backers, including the United States.  For months now, the police and the army have failed to achieve recruitment goals. While the army still maintains a marginal positive balance of recruitment over losses, the police seem in trouble. The police force’s average casualty figure has been two to four times more than the average recruitment – a deficit that could translate into a reduction of 10,000 officers a year.” (NYT, 12 October 2016)[viii]
 
“ANA and Afghan Air Force (AAF) personnel are 169,229, 13 per cent short of the approved 195,000 target. The government and NATO are generally satisfied with overall performance in 2016. Though stretched thin and suffering high casualties, the army repelled insurgent advances in conflict-hit provinces, including Kunduz, Helmand, Uruzgan and Nangarhar, and prevented the Taliban from retaining a major provincial capital or district centre. According to General Nicholson, special forces mostly now operate independently of coalition advisers, forces or enablers, unlike two years ago when they were heavily dependent on international military and air support. Yet, reliance on these some 17,000 elite forces for 70 per cent of the army’s offensive operations risks overburdening them. […]
 
ANP personnel are 148,480, just short of the 157,000 target, excluding the Afghan Local Police (ALP) which is not part of the structure. While it suffers higher casualties than the army because it is often at the front during the “hold” phase of counterinsurgency operations, its poorly rated performance is largely due to “inadequate training in counter-insurgency, poor planning processes and sub-optimal force postures” that leave personnel vulnerable at static checkpoints. The ANP and ALP are, moreover, ridden with corruption and nepotism. ANP officer appointments are often patronage based; staff positions are stacked with junior and inexperienced officers, appointed due to nepotism, corruption or simply the ability to read and write.” (ICG, 10 April 2017, pp. 14-15)[ix]
 
Presidential Elections 2014
 
“Following the presidential election on 5 April, in which no candidate won more than 50 per cent of the vote, a second-round run-off was held on 14 June between the two leading candidates, Mr. Abdullah (45 per cent of the vote in the first round) and Mr. Ghani (31.6 per cent).” (UNGA, 9 September 2014, p. 2)
 
“Ashraf Ghani won Afghanistan's disputed presidential election decisively with 55 percent of the vote, results revealed Friday, after the figure was kept secret for five days over concerns that fraud allegations could trigger violence. Ghani and Abdullah both claimed victory in the June 14 run-off vote, tipping the country into a political crisis that the United Nations feared could descend into the ethnic unrest of the 1990s civil war. A ‘unity government’ deal was finally agreed on Sunday, with Ghani serving as the next president and Abdullah taking up the new role of chief executive, similar to that of prime minister. […] The election was marred by widespread fraud, repeating serious problems seen in previous elections since the Taliban regime was ousted from power in 2001.” (AFP, 26 September 2014)[x]
 

1.1.2. Insurgent Groups

 
“Anti-Government Elements encompass all individuals and armed groups involved in armed conflict with or armed opposition against the Government of Afghanistan and/or international military forces. They include those who identify as ‘Taliban’ as well as individuals and non-State organised armed groups taking a direct part in hostilities and assuming a variety of labels including the Haqqani Network, Hezb-e-Islami, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Islamic Jihad Union, Lashkari Tayyiba, Jaysh Muhammed, groups identified as ‘Daesh’ and other militia and armed groups pursuing political, ideological or economic objectives including armed criminal groups directly engaged in hostile acts on behalf of a party to the conflict.” (UNAMA, August 2015, p. 2, footnote 5)[xi]
 
Taliban
 
“The insurgency is still led primarily by the Taliban movement. The death in 2013 of its original leader, Mullah Umar, was revealed in a July 2015 Taliban announcement. In a disputed selection process, he was succeeded by Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, who in turn was killed by a U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle strike on May 21, 2016. Several days later, the Taliban confirmed his death and announced the selection of one of his deputies, Haibatullah Akhunzadeh, as the new Taliban leader. The group announced two deputies: Mullah Yaqub (son of Mullah Umar) and Sirajuddin Haqqani (operational commander of the Haqqani Network).” (CRS, 19 May 2017, p. 16)
 
“The Taliban is an umbrella organization comprising loosely connected insurgent groups, including more or less autonomous groups with varying degrees of loyalty to the leadership and the idea of The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The Taliban’s organisational structure is hierarchical, with an Amir ul - Muminin (Commander of the Faithful) on the top. He gives moral, religious and political statements, oversees judges, courts, and political commissions, assigns shadow governors and is in command of the military organization.” (Landinfo, 13 May 2016, p. 4)[xii]
 
“There has been no discernible progress towards a peace process between the Government and the Taliban.” (UNGA, 3 March 2017, p. 2)
 
Hezb-e-Islami
 
“Another significant insurgent leader is former mujahedin party leader Gulbuddin Hikmatyar , who leads Hizb-e-Islami - Gulbuddin (HIG). The faction received extensive U.S. support against the Soviet Union, but turned against its mujahedin colleagues after the Communist government fell in 1992. The Taliban displaced HIG as the main opposition to the 1992 - 1996 Rabbani government. In the post-Taliban period, HIG has been ideologically and politically allied with the Taliban insurgents, but HIG fighters sometimes clash with the Taliban over control of territory in HIG’s main centers of activity in provinces to the north and east of Kabul. HIG is not widely considered a major factor on the Afghanistan battlefield and has focused primarily on high-profile attacks […].” (CRS, 6 June 2016, p. 22)
 
“The peace deal signed today by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of Hezb-e Islami, and President Ashraf Ghani, has been hailed by the Afghan government as the first major peace achievement of the last fifteen years. However, expectations should be tempered. Given Hezb-e Islami’s almost total absence on the battlefield, the deal is unlikely to significantly lower the current levels of violence.” (Osman, 29 September 2016)[xiii]
 
Haqqani Network
 
The “Haqqani Network,” founded by Jalaludin Haqqani, a mujahedin commander and U.S. ally during the U.S.-backed war against the Soviet occupation, is often cited by U.S. officials as a potent threat to U.S. and allied forces and interests, and a “critical enabler of Al Qaeda.” […] Some see the Haqqani Network as on the decline. The Haqqani Network had about 3,000 fighters and supporters at its zenith during 2004-2010, but it is believed to have far fewer currently. However, the network is still capable of carrying out operations, particularly in Kabul city. […] The group apparently has turned increasingly to kidnapping to perhaps earn funds and publicize its significance.” (CRS, 19 May 2017, p. 20)
“Strength: HQN is believed to have several hundred core members, but it is estimated that the organization is also able to draw upon a pool of upwards of 10,000 fighters. HQN cooperates closely with the larger Afghan Taliban and draws strength through cooperation with other terrorist organizations operating in Afghanistan, including al-Qa’ida and Jaish-e Mohammad.  Location/Area of Operation: HQN is active along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and across much of southeastern Afghanistan, particularly in Loya Paktia, and has repeatedly targeted Kabul in its attacks. The group’s leadership has historically maintained a power base around Pakistan’s tribal areas.” (USDOS, 2 June 2016, Chapter 6)
 
Al Qaeda
 
“From 2001 until 2015, Al Qaeda was considered by U.S. officials to have only a minimal presence (fewer than 100) in Afghanistan itself, operating mostly as a facilitator for insurgent groups and mainly in the northeast. However, in late 2015 U.S. Special Operations forces and their ANDSF partners discovered and destroyed a large Al Qaeda training camp in Qandahar Province—a discovery that indicated that Al Qaeda had expanded its presence in Afghanistan. In April 2016, U.S. commanders publicly raised their estimates of Al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan to 100-300, and said that relations between Al Qaeda and the Taliban are increasingly close. Afghan officials put the number of Al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan at 300- 500.” (CRS, 19 May 2017, p. 17)
 
Islamic State - Khorasan Province
 
“An Islamic State affiliate—Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP, often also referred to as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan, ISIL-K), named after an area that once included parts of what is now Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan—has been active in Afghanistan since mid- 2014. […]
As of late 2015, Afghan affiliates of the Islamic State have begun receiving financial assistance from the core organization located in the self-declared ‘caliphate’ in parts of Iraq and Syria. U.S. commanders narrowed their estimate of ISKP fighters in Afghanistan to 1,200-1,300 in September 2016 and again to 700 in April 2017.” (CRS, 19 May 2017, p. 19)
 
 
“On January 26, 2015, Abu Muhammed al-Adnani, Islamic State’s chief spokesperson, released an audio statement in which he declared the establishment of Wilayat Khorasan, a branch of the group “encompassing Afghanistan, Pakistan and other nearby lands” (Jihadology, January 26, 2015). Since then, Wilayat Khorasan has pursued a campaign of expansion and consolidation in the region, with most of its activity centering in eastern and southeastern Afghanistan.” (JF, 3 March 2016)[xiv]
 
“ISKP’s control of territory in Nangrahar reached its peak in summer 2015 when it became the dominant insurgent group in eight of the province’s 22 districts. […] Since then, the Taleban have fought to take back territory and the group has also been  pounded by US air strikes. ISKP territory had shrunk to four districts by the end of 2015, with territory mainly re-taken by the Taleban. ISKP then dug in through 2016 in all its remaining districts, that is, Achin, Kot and Nazyan in the south-eastern districts (Bati Kot had returned to Taleban control), as well as Deh Bala in the south-west. ISKP’s hold over these districts looked firm until mid-March, or the beginning of the Afghan spring 2017, when US and Afghan special forces stepped up their attacks against it. In early April 2017, these combined forces launched a new campaign dubbed Operation Hamza, which, according to the US military, was targeted against ISKP not only in Nangrahar, but also in Kunar. In Kunar, the group has not yet established definitive territorial control, but it has actively recruited from members of militant groups there, including from the Afghan Taleban. Kunar has also served as a place of retreat for ISKP members when pressed in southern Nangrahar. Nevertheless, the group is still most entrenched in southern Nangrahar, and particularly strongly in Achin and Deh Bala districts.” (Osman, 23 May 2017)
 
“Since my previous report, Afghan security forces, supported by international military assets, have conducted regular air and ground operations against ISIL-KP in both Nangarhar and Kunar Provinces. These operations have confined the group’s presence in both provinces. An additional, smaller presence of ISIL-KP exists in Nuristan Province.” (UNGA, 13 December 2016, p. 5)
 
“But it has largely been eliminated from southern and western Afghanistan by the Afghan Taliban and military operations conducted by Afghan and US/Nato forces. It has also lost territory in eastern Afghanistan in recent months. But it still has control over some parts of Nangarhar and Kunar provinces, where it plans attacks and trains fighters. Small IS pockets have also been reported in Zabul and Ghazni, as well as a few northern provinces. […]
Estimates about IS's numerical strength inside Afghanistan vary, ranging from 1,000 to 5,000.” (BBC News, 25 February 2017)[xv]
“IS Khorasan gained its new strength through forging alliances with local sectarian pro-al-Qaeda or Taliban militant groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al Alami (LeJ-A), Lashkar-e Islam (LeI), or disgruntled Taliban factions like Jundallah and Jamaat ul Ahrar (JuA), which have been active in the region for many years. It has also reportedly recruited operatives from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).
The success of this strategy is manifest in the geographical distribution of the recent attacks, which suggests a logistical penetration and influence that extends from Kabul and Jalalabad in Afghanistan to Quetta and Peshawar in neighboring Pakistan.” (JF, 15 December 2016)

 1.2. Security Situation: Overview


 
2015
 
For developments from 2001 until the end of 2012, see the following archived version of this featured topic: http://www.ecoi.net/local_link/249674/360146_en.html
 
For developments in 2013, see the following archived version of this featured topic: http://www.ecoi.net/local_link/270108/385159_en.html 
 
For developments in 2014, see the following archived version of this featured topic:
http://www.ecoi.net/local_link/304849/428111_en.html

For developments in 2015, see the following archived version of this featured topic:
https://www.ecoi.net/local_link/335466/464119_en.html
 
2016
 
“The overall security situation continued to deteriorate throughout 2016 and into 2017. The United Nations recorded 23,712 security incidents, an almost 5 per cent increase compared with 2015 and the highest number in a single year ever recorded by UNAMA. While the fighting remained particularly prevalent in the five southern and eastern provinces of Helmand, Nangarhar, Kandahar, Kunar and Ghazni, where 50 per cent of all incidents were recorded, the conflict spread in geographical scope, with increasing Taliban activities in northern and north-eastern Afghanistan, as well as in Farah in the west. The Taliban continued to put pressure on the Government’s control of the provincial capitals of Farah, Kunduz, Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province, and Tirin Kot, Uruzgan Province. International and Afghan air support and the deployment of Afghan special forces remained critical to the holding of these cities. In late November, the Taliban captured the Ghorak district administrative centre of Kandahar Province, bringing to 14 the total number of districts claimed by the Taliban to be under their control. In addition, the control of a number of districts has been contested, with some reports claiming an increase in the percentage of Afghan territory under Taliban influence. The fighting evolved further in character as the number of armed clashes between the Taliban and Government security forces increased by 22 per cent in 2016, accounting for 63 per cent of all security incidents, the majority of which were initiated by the Taliban. Improvised explosive device attacks continued to decline in 2016, however, and were 25 per cent lower than during the previous year. […]
Between 18 November 2016 and 14 February 2017, the United Nations recorded 5,160 security-related incidents. This represents a 10 per cent increase compared with the same period in 2015 and a 3 per cent increase compared with the same period in 2014. The number of armed clashes recorded in January 2017 increased by 30, compared with January of 2016, and reached 1,877, the highest number recorded by the United Nations for that month. Improvised explosive device attacks increased by 11 per cent compared with the same period in 2016.” (UNGA, 3 March 2017, p. 3-4)
 
“Armed conflicts in Afghanistan intensified and expanded more than previous years in 1394. Insecurity spread in most parts of the country and affected the life of the majority of the civilians directly or indirectly. During this period civilian suffered severe casualties. Based on the findings by the AIHRC, the highest level of civilian casualties was recorded in the year 1394.
 
The total number of civilian casualties exceeded 9431 people (3192 deaths and 6302 injured) which shows 17.8 percent increase compared to that in 1393. Based on findings by the AIHRC, 8005 people were killed or injured in 1393. Out of them 3071 people were killed and 4934 people got injured. […]
 
According to the report, out of 9431 deaths and wounded, 4642 of them are men, 775 are women and 1116 of them are children, while the age and gender of 2898 of them are not specified.” (AIHRC, 1 August 2016, p. 12)[xvi]
 
“Between 1 January and 31 December, UNAMA documented 11,418 civilian casualties (3,498 deaths and 7,920 injured); marking a two per cent decrease in civilian deaths and six per cent increase in civilians injured. These figures amount to a three per cent increase in total civilian casualties compared to 2015. […]
 
As in 2015, ground engagements between Anti-Government Elements and Pro-Government Forces, particularly in areas populated or frequented by civilians, remained the leading cause of civilian casualties, followed by IEDs, suicide and complex attacks and targeted and deliberate killings.
 
The conflict severely impacted Afghan children in 2016. UNAMA recorded 3,512 child casualties (923 deaths and 2,589 injured), a 24 per cent increase from 2015, and the highest number of child casualties recorded by UNAMA in a single year. The disproportionate rise in child casualties across Afghanistan in 2016 resulted mainly from a 66 per cent increase in civilian casualties from explosive remnants of war – most of whom were children.
 
In 2016, UNAMA documented 1,218 women casualties (341 deaths and 877 injured), representing a two per cent decrease compared to 2015. Women casualties caused by ground engagements increased by seven per cent compared to 2015. […]
 
Civilian casualties increased in five of Afghanistan’s eight regions in 2016. The armed conflict most affected the southern region, which recorded 2,989 civilian casualties (1,056 deaths and 1,933 injured), a 17 per cent increase compared to 2015. The central region recorded the second highest number of civilian casualties – 2,348 civilian casualties (534 deaths and 1,814 injured) – an increase of 34 per cent compared to 2015 due to suicide and complex attacks in Kabul city. The northeastern and eastern regions experienced a decline in civilian casualties; however, both recorded significant numbers – 1,595 civilian casualties (433 deaths and 1,162 injured) in the eastern region and 1,270 civilian casualties (382 deaths and 888 injured) in the north-eastern region. UNAMA documented 1,362 civilian casualties (384 deaths and 978 injured) in the northern region, 903 civilian casualties (340 deaths and 563 injured) in the south-eastern region, 836 civilian casualties (344 deaths and 492 injured) in the western region and 115 civilian casualties (25 deaths and 90 injured) in the central highlands region.” (UNAMA, 6 February 2017, p. 10-12)
 
“In 2016, Anti-Government Elements caused 61 per cent of all civilian casualties through attacks that disregarded civilian life, including the indiscriminate detonation of IEDs in civilian-populated areas. Between 1 January and 31 December, UNAMA attributed 6,994 civilian casualties (2,131 deaths and 4,863 injured) to Anti-Government Elements, an increase of two per cent compared to 2015. This slight increase may be attributable to an increase in civilian casualties caused by suicide and complex attacks, despite reductions in civilian casualties from IEDs and targeted and deliberate killings.
 
Of the 6,994 civilian casualties (2,131 deaths and 4,863 injured) attributed to Anti-Government Elements in 2016, UNAMA attributed 4,953 civilian casualties (1,618 deaths and 3,335 injured) to Taliban; 899 civilian casualties (209 deaths and 690 injured) to Daesh/Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP); and 1,099 civilian casualties (286 deaths and 813 injured) to unidentified AntiGovernment Elements where there was no public claim of responsibility, or attribution to a specific group was not possible. […]
 
The majority of civilian casualties caused by Anti-Government Elements resulted from the indiscriminate and illegal use of IEDs. […]
 
“While acknowledging efforts by the national and international military forces to mitigate civilian harm, UNAMA attributed 2,728 civilian casualties (903 deaths and 1,825 injured) to Pro-Government Forces in 2016, accounting for 24 per cent of all civilian casualties, and reflecting a 46 per cent increase compared to 2015. UNAMA attributed 20 per cent of total civilian casualties to the Afghan national security forces, two per cent to international military forces and two per cent to pro-Government armed groups. […]
 
The majority of the casualties resulted from the indirect and/or explosive use of weapons, mainly mortars, in civilian-populated areas.
 
After ground engagements, aerial operations remained the second leading cause of civilian casualties caused by Pro-Government Forces in 2016. […]
 
In 2016, UNAMA documented 185 civilian casualties (52 deaths and 133 injured) by pro-Government armed groups, an increase of 42 per cent compared to the same period in 2015. This is the highest number of civilian casualties caused by pro-Government armed groups in a single year since UNAMA began systematic documentation of civilian casualties.” (UNAMA, 6 February 2017, p. 14-16)
 
2017
 
“In the first quarter of 2017, UNAMA documented 2,181 civilian casualties (715 dead and 1,466 injured), a four per cent decrease compared to the same period in 2016. Civilian deaths decreased by two per cent while civilian injuries decreased by five per cent.
 
Consistent with trends in 2016, ground engagements continued to cause most civilian casualties, followed by improvised explosive devices, as well as suicide and complex attacks. […]
 
Geographically, Kabul province had the highest number of civilian casualties due to suicide and complex attacks in Kabul city, followed by Helmand, Kandahar, Nangarhar and Uruzgan provinces. Anti-Government Elements caused 62 per cent of civilian casualties – 1,353 civilian casualties (447 dead and 906 injured), reflecting a five per cent increase compared to the same period in 2016. Anti-Government Elements continued to target civilians intentionally and deploy indiscriminate tactics in areas with a civilian presence – in clear violation of their obligations under international humanitarian law. UNAMA documented attacks targeting civilian government employees, tribal elders, Muslim Shi’a mosques, humanitarian de-miners, NGO workers and civilians perceived to be government supporters. […]
 
Improvised explosive devices (all non-suicide switch types) remained the second leading cause of civilian casualties – responsible for 409 civilian casualties (126 dead and 283 injured) – a decrease of one per cent compared to the same period in 2016 and comprising 19 per cent of all civilian casualties. […]
 
Suicide and complex attacks continued to cause record levels of civilian harm. The Mission recorded a five percent increase in civilian casualties from these tactics – 374 civilian casualties (108 dead and 266 injured) – accounting for 17 per cent of all civilian casualties.
 
UNAMA attributed 21 per cent of civilian casualties to Pro-Government Forces – 451 civilian casualties (165 dead and 286 injured) – a decrease of two per cent compared to the same period in 2016.
 
While most civilian casualties caused by Pro-Government Forces occurred indirectly during ground fighting with Anti-Government Elements, UNAMA recorded a substantial increase in civilian casualties from aerial operations.
 
The mission documented 148 civilian casualties (72 dead and 76 injured) from aerial operations, a disturbing increase compared to 29 civilian casualties (eight dead and 21 injured) in the first quarter of 2016. […]
 
Nine per cent of civilian casualties arose from ground fighting between Anti-Government Elements and Pro-Government Forces where the responsible party could not be determined. Unattributed unexploded ordnance caused the majority of the remaining civilian casualties.
 
Civilian casualties from unexploded ordnance increased by one per cent to 203 civilian casualties (50 deaths and 153 injured), of which children comprised 81 per cent.
 
UNAMA is extremely concerned by increases in both child and women civilian casualties, particularly deaths. The mission recorded a 24 per cent increase in women civilian casualties, documenting 273 women casualties (88 dead and 185 injured) due to increases in women killed or injured by aerial operations and suicide and complex attacks. Conflict-related deaths of women increased by 54 per cent while the number of injured women increased by 13 per cent.
 
Also in the first quarter, the mission recorded 735 child casualties (210 dead and 525 injured), a three per cent increase compared to the same period in 2016. Child deaths increased by 17 per cent while child injuries decreased by one per cent. Children comprised 34 per cent of all civilian casualties during the first quarter.
 
Increases in child casualties from aerial operations and improvised explosive devices, in conjunction with high numbers of children killed or injured by unexploded ordnance, drove the rise in child casualties.” (UNAMA, 25 April 2017, pp. 1-2)
 

2. Security Situation in Kabul

 
For information from 2012 through to 2015, see the following archived version of this featured topic: https://www.ecoi.net/local_link/335466/464119_en.html
 
“Security in Kabul has sharply deteriorated throughout 2016.” (BBC News, 22 December 2016)
 
„Det var i perioden fra januar til ultimo august 2016 en reduksjon i antallet høyprofilerte, komplekse selvmordsangrep i Kabul by sammenlignet med tidligere år. Mens det i de siste årene i gjennomsnitt har vært to til tre komplekse angrep i måneden, ble det i de første åtte månedene av 2016 gjennomført ett til to angrep per måned. Ved månedsskiftet august/september 2016 var det gjennomført 14 komplekse angrep (fire av disse i august), hvilket representerte en nedgang sammenlignet med samme periode i 2015, da det ble gjennomført 22 komplekse selvmordsangrep i byen. I samme periode i 2014 var tallet 18 (internasjonal kilde, e-post 2016). […]
 
Taliban antas å ha stått bak de fleste komplekse angrepene i Kabul by i 2016. Unntakene dreier seg blant annet om de tre tilfellene hvor Daesh har påtatt seg ansvar for angrepene. I det ene selvmordsangrepet som ble utført av Daesh den 23. juli 2016 (se blant annet Landinfo 2016), var det hazaraer som ble rammet. Det andre av Daesh’ angrep, var mot en shia-moske i forbindelse med ashura-feiringen i oktober 2016 og det tredje angrepet var et selvmordsangrep mot en shia-moske. Angrepene skiller seg fra Talibans fremgangsmåte ved at de rettes mot klart sivile mål og ikke mot myndigheter, afghanske sikkerhetsstyrker eller vestlige interesser, og også fordi det var målrettede angrep direkte mot den afghanske shiabefolkningen.” (Landinfo, 25 November 2016, p. 10-11)
 

2.1. Timeline of Attacks in Kabul since 2016


 
For a timeline from January 2011 to December 2012 see the following archived version of this featured topic: http://www.ecoi.net/local_link/249674/360146_en.html
 
For a timeline from January 2013 to December 2013 see the following archived version of this featured topic: http://www.ecoi.net/local_link/270108/385159_en.html
 
For a timeline from January 2014 to December 2014 see the following archived version of this featured topic: http://www.ecoi.net/local_link/304849/428111_en.html
 
For developments from January 2015 to December 2015, see the following archived version of this featured topic: https://www.ecoi.net/local_link/335466/464119_en.html
 
JUNE 2017
 
“On Saturday 3 June 2017, with people still reeling from the events of the day before, debates on whether to continue and possibly escalate the demonstrations were ongoing. Afghan police and intelligence officials however urged Kabul’s inhabitants to stay indoors, citing a threat of possible attacks that could target large gatherings of people […]. There were no demonstrations, but people did gather for the funerals.
One of the main funerals, attended by leading politicians (mainly but not exclusively from Jamiat), was the one of Ezadyar’s son. It took place at the same cemetery where former Jamiati leader Marshal Fahim was buried, in Kabul’s northern Saray-e Shamali area. While the mourners lined up for prayers, three explosions tore through the second or third row (see dramatic footage here), killing at least 20 and injuring 119. According to the NDS the attackers had used explosive-rigged shoes.” (Van Bijlert/ Ruttig, 4 June 2017)[xvii]
 
“On 1 June 2017, in an initial response, dozens of mainly young Kabulis gathered at the blast site for a vigil. Among other slogans, the protestors demanded the execution of ‘Daesh prisoners.’ […] When demonstrators returned the following day, on 2 June 2017, in large numbers, the mood was more much tense and anti-government, and there was an array of agendas on display. There were calls for the government to resign in favour of an interim government. […] At least part of the crowd wanted to march on to the presidential palace; they were stopped by the police which was out in the streets in strength. The situation turned tense as the security forces used water cannons, tear gas and batons and, at some point, live ammunition, killing a number of protestors. […] The police chief alleged that protesters had been carrying weapons and had fired at the police, wounding four officers. […] One of the dead was Salem Ezadyar, the son of a leading Jamiati politician and current deputy chairman of the Meshrano Jirga, or Senate.” (Van Bijlert/ Ruttig, 4 June 2017)
 
MAY 2017
 
“The Afghan government has raised the death toll from a huge truck-bomb blast in the center of Kabul to 90. The Afghan government's media center said 400 people were also wounded in the May 31 explosion, which ripped through Kabul's diplomatic quarter at the peak of the morning rush hour during the holy month of Ramadan, shattering windows far from the site and sending black smoke into the sky. The Health Ministry warned that the toll would continue to rise as more bodies were pulled from the debris.” (RFE/RL, 31 May 2017)[xviii]
 
“As a result, not only police and security company personnel that manned the nearby check-post, but large numbers of Afghan civilians were harmed – an estimated 90 people killed and further 460 injured, some so badly that it will affect them for the rests of their lives. […]
There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, from neither the Taleban or Daesh’s local ‘Khorasan’ chapter (ISKP), but the Afghan intelligence (NDS), already on the same evening, accused the Haqqani network of having organised the blast, in cooperation with the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI […].” (Van Bijlert/ Ruttig, 4 June 2017)
 
“Gunmen in the Afghan capital Kabul have attacked a guesthouse, killing a German woman and beheading an Afghan guard. The attackers stormed a guesthouse run by a Swedish NGO, Operation Mercy, at about 23:30 (19:00 GMT) on Saturday, the Afghan interior ministry said. A second woman, from Finland, is missing and has possibly been kidnapped, the ministry said.” (BBC News, 21 May 2017)
 
“A suicide attack on a convoy belonging to the Nato mission in Afghanistan has killed at least eight people in Kabul, officials say. The victims were all civilians, a government spokesman said. About 25 other people were injured, including three US service members. The attack on the group of military vehicles happened next to the US embassy during the morning rush hour. So-called Islamic State (IS) said it was behind the attack.” (BBC News, 3 May 2017)
 
APRIL 2017
 
“At least five people have been killed and several others injured in a suicide bombing in Kabul, the Afghan Interior Ministry says. The blast occurred near the Defense Ministry compound and other government institutions on April 11, when thousands of ministry staff were leaving their offices for the day. A Defense Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying the victims included both civilians and members of the Afghan security forces. The spokesman also said the target appeared to be a police post. The Islamic State (IS) extremist group claimed the attack through its unofficial news agency, Amaq, saying the bomber targeted a checkpoint.” (RFE/RL, 12 April 2017)
 
MARCH 2017
 
“Afghan officials say the death toll in an attack on a military hospital in Kabul has risen to 49.
Salim Rassouli, director of Kabul hospitals, said on March 9 that 49 people were killed in the attack on the Sardar Mohammad Khan military hospital on March 8, and at least 63 wounded.
The extremist group Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack in which gunmen dressed as health workers shot doctors, patients, and visitors at the 400-bed hospital.
Health Ministry spokesman Qamaruddin Sediqi confirmed the death toll of 49 but put the number of people wounded at 76. Other officials said 90 people were wounded.” (RFE/RL, 9 March 2017)
 
“Almost simultaneous attacks in Kabul have left at least 16 people dead and 44 injured, the health ministry says. The two suicide attacks took place at about midday local time (07:30 GMT) on Wednesday, targeting a police station and intelligence agency offices. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attacks.” (BBC News, 1 March 2017)
 
FEBRUARY 2017
 
“At least 20 people have been killed in a suicide bombing at Afghanistan's Supreme Court in Kabul, officials say. The government said 41 people were injured, 10 of them critically. All of the casualties are civilians. The bomber targeted the car park of the court compound as employees were leaving to go home, reports say. There was no immediate claim for the attack, which follows a number of deadly bombings by the Taliban and other militants in recent months” (BBC News, 7 Februar 2017). “Islamic State claimed responsibility on Wednesday for a suicide attack that killed at least 22 people outside Afghanistan's Supreme Court. The bomber, identified as Abu Bakr Altajiki by the militant group, detonated an explosive belt as court employees were leaving work in downtown Kabul on Tuesday evening.” (Reuters, 8 February 2017)
 
JANUARY 2017
 
“Afghan officials say twin bombings near parliament in Kabul killed at least 38 people on January 10, while a powerful blast at a government guesthouse in southern Kandahar left at least seven dead, including five diplomats from the United Arab Emirates.  The initial blast in Kabul struck about 4 p.m. as employees were leaving a compound of government and legislative offices, Interior Ministry spokesman Sadiq Sadiqi said.  Sadiqi told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan that a suicide bomber blew himself up, followed by a car bomb in the same area in "what appears to have been a coordinated attack." The second explosion occurred after security forces had arrived at the scene.  According to some reports, another vehicle with explosives was stopped by security forces near the area.  Health officials say more than 70 people were wounded in the bombings, which were claimed by the Taliban.” (RFE/RL, 11 January 2017)
 
DECEMBER 2016
 
“At least three people, including a parliamentarian, are reported to have been wounded by a bomb blast in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Deputy Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said on December 28 that a bomb was put under a bridge and appeared to target the car of lawmaker Fakuri Behishti, who is from the central Bamiyan Province. Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi confirmed the attack, which he said took place in Kabul's Dashti Barchi district. Behishti was traveling to parliament when the explosion occurred. His son was reportedly also injured. No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing.” (RFE/RL, 28 December 2016)
 
“Two unidentified gunmen on a motorbike opened fire at the house of a former Taliban leader in the Afghan capital, Kabul, killing at least one person, Afghan officials and media said on December 24. Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef was not at his home when the attack took place late on December 23, police said. According to Fraidoon Obaidi, the head of the Kabul police's criminal investigation department, a security guard was killed in the attack. The gunmen fled the scene and no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.” (RFE/RL, 24 December 2016)
 
“Taliban gunmen in Afghanistan have attacked the Kabul home of a member of parliament, killing eight people. Six others were wounded, including the MP, Mir Wali, and his wife, police say. Two of their grandchildren were among the dead. Security forces killed the three gunmen and freed 18 hostages after a 10-hour siege early on Thursday. The Taliban said they carried out the attack. […] Police say the attackers stormed the compound of the MP for Helmand, armed with guns and hand grenades.” (BBC News, 22 December 2016)
 
NOVEMBER 2016
 
“A suicide bomber has killed at least 27 people at a Shia Muslim mosque in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Many more were wounded in the blast at an annual Shia ceremony at the Baqir ul Olum mosque in the west of the city. The attacker arrived on foot and blew himself up among worshippers inside. So-called Islamic State (IS) said that it was behind the blast. It is the latest of several recent attacks on Afghanistan's Shia community claimed by the Sunni Muslim militant group. Monday's bombing took place at 12:30 local time (08:00 GMT) during a service to commemorate the death of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson and a Shia martyr.” (BBC News, 21 November 2016)
 
OCTOBER 2016
 
“Two Americans have been killed and a further three have been injured after a gunman opened fire on a military base in Kabul, Afghanistan, officials say. A service member and a civilian were killed in the attack, which Afghan officials are calling an "insider" job. Two civilians and a service member are in a stable condition, a Nato military alliance statement said. The gunman has been killed. No insurgent group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.” (BBC News, 19 October 2016)
 
“At least 14 people have been killed in an attack on a shrine in the Afghan capital, Kabul as Shia Muslims prepared for a religious day of mourning. A crowd had gathered at the Karte Sakhi shrine for Ashura, a commemoration of the martyrdom of Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.” (BBC News, 11 October 2016)
 
“A gunman wearing an Afghan National Security Forces uniform opened fire on Shia mourners at Kabul’s landmark Sakhi Shrine on Wednesday, killing 18 people and wounding 54. The attack on members of the Shia Hazara community occurred on the eve of Ashura, the Shia mourning day. Victims included four women, including Sumaya Muhammadi, a member of the Daikundi provincial council, and two children. The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, claimed responsibility for the attack.” (HRW, 13 October 2016)[xix]
 
SEPTEMBER 2016
 
“Taliban militants attacked an international charity in Kabul Tuesday during an hours-long assault labelled a "war crime" by Amnesty, as the capital reeled from a wave of violence that killed at least 41 and wounded dozens. The assault on CARE International began late Monday with a massive car bombing, just hours after the Taliban carried out a brazen double bombing near the defence ministry. A plume of smoke rose over the upscale neighbourhood of Shar-e Naw after the raid on the charity, located next to the office of Afghanistan's former intelligence chief Rahmatullah Nabil. It remains unclear which compound was the intended target of the attack, which left piles of rubble and shards of glass strewn across the area. "An armed group launched an attack on what is believed to have been an Afghan government compound located close to the Kabul office of CARE," the charity said, adding its staff had been safely evacuated. "The incident continued through early Tuesday morning with damages sustained to the CARE compound." The interior ministry said 42 people including 10 foreigners were rescued. It added that six people had been wounded in the attack, which ended Tuesday morning when Afghan forces gunned down all three attackers. The Taliban, who are stepping up their nationwide offensive, described the target as a foreign intelligence centre in Shar-e Naw "disguised as a guest house". The attack on CARE International "is the deliberate targeting of civilians and constitutes a war crime", Amnesty International said, calling for an independent probe to bring the perpetrators to justice. The assault had been preceded by twin Taliban blasts that killed at least 41 people during rush hour on Monday, including high-level officials, and left 110 wounded.“ (AFP, 6 September 2016)
 
AUGUST 2016
 
“Twelve people, including seven students, were killed in an attack on the American University in Kabul that sent hundreds of students fleeing in panic, police said on Thursday, before the assault ended when two gunmen were shot dead. The attack began at around 6:30 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Wednesday with a large explosion that officials said was a car bomb followed by gunfire, as suspected militants battled into the complex where foreign staff and pupils were working. Sporadic gunfire could be heard through the night and, before dawn, police said the operation had concluded after they killed at least two attackers. There was no claim of responsibility for an attack in which Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said seven students, three policemen and two security guards were killed, the second incident involving the university this month.” (Reuters, 25 August 2016)[xx]
 
“A Taliban truck bomb blasted a hotel for foreigners in Kabul Monday, triggering a seven-hour gun and grenade assault that highlighted growing insecurity in a city still reeling from its deadliest attack for 15 years.  The guests and staff of the Northgate hotel escaped unharmed, but one policeman was killed after the suicide truck bomber paved the way for two other armed insurgents to enter the heavily guarded facility near Kabul airport.  The massive explosion reverberated through the Afghan capital, leaving a huge muddy crater and piles of scorched debris strewn at the compound, which was previously attacked in July 2013.” (AFP, 1 August 2016)
 
JULY 2016
 
“Islamic State jihadists claimed responsibility for twin explosions Saturday that ripped through crowds of Shiite Hazaras in Kabul, killing at least 80 people and wounding 231 others in the deadliest attack in the Afghan capital since 2001.  The bombings during a huge protest over a power line mark the first major IS assault on Kabul, apparently aimed at sowing sectarian discord in a country well known for Shia-Sunni harmony […] The Taliban, who are in the middle of their annual summer offensive and are more powerful than IS, strongly denied any involvement in the attack.  The Islamic State group claimed the bombings in a statement carried by its affiliated Amaq news agency, calling it an attack on Shiites. […] The attack represents a major escalation for IS, which so far has largely been confined to the eastern province of Nangarhar.” (AFP, 23 July 2016)
 
JUNE 2016
 
“Taliban bombers have attacked an Afghan police convoy outside the capital Kabul, killing at least 30 people and wounding 50 others, officials say. Two bombs hit a convoy of buses carrying graduates from a ceremony on the city's western outskirts. Paghman District Governor Musa Khan told the BBC that all but two of the dead were police cadets. The bombing was claimed by the Taliban and follows an attack on a bus just over a week ago that killed 14 people.” (BBC News, 30 June 2016)
 
“A busload of Nepali security guards were among 23 people killed in a string of bombings across Afghanistan Monday, days after Washington expanded the US military's authority to strike the Taliban. A Taliban spokesman on Twitter claimed the first attack, which killed 14 Nepali security guards working for the Canadian Embassy in Kabul in a massive blast that left their yellow minibus spattered with blood.  However Islamic State's affiliate in Afghanistan and Pakistan released a competing claim in which they named and pictured the alleged bomber, according to the SITE monitoring group, in what would be their most significant attack in the country. An Afghan intelligence source said officials were investigating the IS claim, which was flatly denied by the Taliban.  The Taliban also claimed a second, smaller blast in south Kabul Monday that the interior ministry said killed one person.” (AFP, 20 June 2016)
 
“An Afghan lawmaker and at least three other people have been killed in a bomb explosion in the capital, Kabul.  MP Sher Wali Wardak was injured in the blast outside his house and died on the way to hospital, officials said.  No group has so far admitted carrying out the attack.” (BBC News, 5 June 2016)
 
MAY 2016
 
“An Afghan guard at a United Nations compound in Kabul turned his gun on colleagues on May 20, killing a Nepalese guard and wounding another security officer there.The United Nations Assistance Mission for Afghanistan said one of its staff members at the compound also was wounded by the shootings.Hassib Sediqi, a spokesman for Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security, said the violence happened at a construction site that is part of the UN compound.It was not immediately clear if the attack was planned as an act of terrorism or the result of a disagreement.” (RFE/RL, 20 May 2016)
 
APRIL 2016
 
“The death toll from a Taliban attack in Kabul has more than doubled to 64, officials said Wednesday, in what appeared to be the deadliest assault on the Afghan capital since the Islamists were toppled from power in 2001. The brazen attack on Tuesday on a security services office in the heart of Kabul is seen as the opening salvo in this year's Taliban spring offensive, launched last week.  A powerful Taliban truck bomb tore through central Kabul and a fierce firefight broke out, sending clouds of smoke billowing into the sky and rattling windows several kilometres away. "It is with regret that I announce that 64 people were killed and 347 others wounded in yesterday's Kabul attack," interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told reporters. "Most of them are civilians." The ministry had earlier put the death toll at 30. The Taliban claimed three "martyrdom seekers" carried out an attack on the National Directorate of Security, the main spy agency. One of them, it said, managed to slip away alive.  Afghan authorities insisted the building, used by NDS in the past, only housed an elite security agency charged with protecting top government officials.” (AFP, 20 April 2016)
                                       
“One person has been killed in a bomb attack targeting a government employee bus in the Afghan capital.  An Afghan official said the bus was carrying Education Ministry employees to work in Kabul on April 11 when it exploded. Five people were also wounded.  The officials said the blast was caused by a magnetic bomb attached to the bus. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.” (RFE/RL, 11 April 2016)
 
MARCH 2016
 
“A bomb has exploded under a bridge in Afghanistan's capital, killing one person and wounding nine others. The Interior Ministry said five police officers, including a district police chief, have been suspended over the March 29 blast in Kabul and are under investigation for neglecting their duties. No one has claimed responsibility for the blast.” (RFE/RL, 29 March 2016)
 
“Officials say Taliban militants fired a series of rockets at Afghanistan's parliament compound on March 28 as the top intelligence official and caretaker minister of interior were due to speak. No casualties were reported from the attack claimed by the Taliban.
"Three rockets were fired at the parliament but they did not hit the main building," said Safiullah Muslim, a lawmaker from Badakhshan province. "It happened when the session was ongoing."” (RFE/RL, 28 March 2016)
 
“Afghan security forces say they thwarted an attack on the country's acting intelligence chief in Kabul.  Officials told RFE/RL that the would-be attacker tried to enter the home of Masood Andrabi on March 18, but was identified and killed by security personnel.  Witnesses in the area said they heard shots from the scene. The streets outside of the home were cordoned off by police. The attack occurred in a heavily fortified area of central Kabul that is home to government ministry buildings and foreign embassies. No group has claimed responsibility for the planned attack, although similar attacks in the past have been blamed on Taliban militants. Andarabi was appointed to head the National Directorate of Security, the country's intelligence service, in December.” (RFE/RL, 18 March 2016)
 
FEBRUARY 2016
 
“Twenty-five people were killed in two attacks in Afghanistan Saturday, including one in the capital, with the blasts potentially jeopardising attempts by Kabul to persuade the Taliban to join peace talks set for next month. Witnesses and officials described how the suicide bomber detonated near the Defence Ministry in the centre of Kabul just as offices closed for the day, in an attack later claimed by the Taliban. "Twelve people, including two Afghan soldiers were killed and eight others injured," a ministry statement said, while a previous toll given by Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi stated nine were dead and 13 wounded. The bomber was on foot, ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri added.” (AFP, 27 February 2016)
 
“A suicide bomber has killed 20 people at a police headquarters in the Afghan capital Kabul, officials say. At least 29 others were wounded in the blast in the west of the city, the interior ministry said. Some reports suggest most of those killed and injured were police officers. Earlier reports said most of the dead were civilians. The Taliban said they carried out the bombing - one of a string of attacks in Kabul and elsewhere in recent months.  Monday's attack happened at the entrance of the headquarters of the National Civil Order Police, a unit that has a counterinsurgency role against the Taliban. Officials initially blamed a suicide car bomber, but later said the attacker had joined people queuing to get into the police station before he detonated his explosives.” (BBC News, 1 February 2016)
 
JANUARY 2016
 
“At least seven people have been killed in Kabul after a suicide bomber struck a minibus carrying employees of the prominent Afghan news network Tolo TV.  The bombing, the first major attack on a media organization in Afghanistan, came just months after the Taliban declared Tolo TV -- which includes a number of television, online, and radio outlets -- a legitimate "military target." No group has claimed responsibility.  The Interior Ministry said in a statement that at least 25 people were injured in the bombing, which comes amid a wave of violence and an international push to revive peace talks with the Taliban.” (RFE/RL, 20 January 2016)
 
“A rocket landed near the Italian embassy in Kabul on Sunday, a police official said, a day before a meeting of Afghan and international officials aimed at laying the groundwork for possible peace talks with the Taliban. The official, who asked not to be named, said there was no immediate word on any casualties or damage from the blast, which followed a series of suicide attacks in Kabul earlier this month. Local media said two security guards had been injured. It was not immediately clear whether the embassy, which is located near other foreign missions, had been specifically targeted.” (Reuters, 17 January 2016)
 
“A magnetic bomb attached to a car exploded in Kabul on Tuesday, in the latest of a series of attacks in the Afghan capital, police officials said. Police said there were no known casualties from the blast in the Wazir Akbar Khan district of the city, an area with many foreign embassies and government buildings. The explosion came a day after two suicide attacks hit Kabul, including a truck bomb that blew up on Monday evening outside a compound for foreign contractors near the city's airport, causing dozens of casualties. Since the start of the new year, Kabul has seen four bomb attacks.” (Reuters, 5 January 2016)
 
“A suicide attack on a French restaurant in the Afghan capital Kabul on Friday killed a 12-year-old boy and wounded more than a dozen other people, officials said. The latest in a series of suicide bombings in Kabul targeted ‘Le Jardin’, one of a small number of restaurants in the city still frequented by foreigners.” (AlertNet, 1 January 2016)[xxi]
 
“A suicide bomber has killed two people at a French restaurant popular with foreigners in the Afghan capital Kabul, officials say. […] All of the casualties are Afghan civilians and one of the attackers was captured. The Taliban claimed responsibility.” (BBC News, 1 January 2016)
 
 

3. Sources


(all links accessed 19 June 2017)
 

  
[i] The US Department of State (USDOS) is the US federal executive department responsible for the international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministry of other countries.
[ii] The US Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a public policy research arm of the US Congress.
[iii] Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) is a German political party foundation associated with but independent of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
[iv] The Central Asia-Caucasus Institute (CACI), a programme based at Johns Hopkins University (USA), together with the Silk Road Studies Program, constitutes a joint policy think tank with offices in Washington, D.C., and Stockholm.
[v] The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) is an independent research organization based in Kabul.
[vi] The US Department of Defense (USDOD) is an executive branch department of the US government charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government concerned directly with national security and the United States Armed Forces.
[vii] The UN General Assembly (UNGA) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation.
[viii] The New York Times (NYT) is a US daily newspaper published in New York City.
[ix] The International Crisis Group (ICG) is a Brussels-based transnational non-profit, non-governmental organization that carries out field research on violent conflict and advances policies to prevent, mitigate or resolve conflict.
[x] Agence France-Presse (AFP) is an international news agency based in Paris.
[xi] The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is a political UN mission established on 28 March 2002 by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1401.
[xii] The Norwegian Country of Origin Information Center Landinfo is an independent body within the Norwegian immigration authorities that provides COI services to various actors within Norway’s immigration authorities.
[xiii] Borhan Osman is an analyst for the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), an independent non-profit policy research organisation headquartered in Kabul which provides analysis on Afghanistan and its surrounding region.
[xiv] The Jamestown Foundation (JF) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides information on terrorism, the former Soviet republics, Chechnya, China, and North Korea.
[xv] The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster headquartered in London.
[xvi] The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) is the national human rights institution of Afghanistan dedicated to the promotion, protection and monitoring of human rights and the investigation of human rights abuses.
[xvii] Martine van Bijlert and Thomas Ruttig are co-directors of the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN).
[xviii] Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is a US government-funded broadcasting organisation that provides news, information, and analysis to countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East.
[xix] Human Rights Watch (HRW) is a New York-based international non-governmental organisation that conducts research and advocacy on human rights.
[xx] Reuters is an international news agency based in London.
[xxi] AlertNet is a humanitarian news service run by the Thomson Reuters Foundation covering crises worldwide.

This featured topic was prepared after researching solely on ecoi.net and within time constraints. It is meant to offer an overview on an issue and is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status, asylum or other form of international protection. Chronologies are not intended to be exhaustive. Every quotation comes from a document available on ecoi.net and is referred to with a hyperlink to the respective document on ecoi.net.

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