'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. The featured topics are presented in the form of excerpts from documents, coming from selected sources. Compiled by ACCORD.

1. Overview of security in Afghanistan

1.1. Security in the country


“[I]ts 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)[i]

“The key observation regarding the current situation in Afghanistan that guides all subsequent recommendations is that Afghanistan is not in a post-conflict situation, where sufficient stability exists to focus on institution-building and development-oriented activities, but a country undergoing a conflict that shows few signs of abating." (UNGA, 10 August 2017, p. 3) [ii]

“The overall security situation has deteriorated over the past few years, as the Taliban have been able to influence and, to some extent, control ever larger parts of the country.” (UNGA, 10 August 2017, p. 4)

“Fighting between Afghan government and Taliban forces intensified through 2017, causing high numbers of civilian casualties.” (HRW, 18 January 2018)[iii]

“The security situation remained highly volatile, as the Taliban and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan Province (ISIL-KP) showed continued capacity for inflicting mass casualties amid increased Afghan and international air strike.” (UNGA, 15 December 2017, p. 1)

“The security situation remained highly volatile, as conflict between government and anti-government forces continued throughout most of the country. The United Nations recorded 3,995 security-related incidents from 15 September to 15 November, representing a 4 per cent decrease compared with the same period in 2016. By 15 November, the United Nations had recorded more than 21,105 security-related incidents for the first 11 months of 2017, an increase of 1 per cent since 2016. The continuing high number of incidents is attributed mainly to armed clashes. In line with established trends, armed clashes accounted for the majority of security incidents, at 62 per cent, followed by improvised explosive devices, at 17 per cent. Targeted killings and abductions increased by 16 per cent compared with the same period in 2016. The eastern region experienced the highest number of incidents, followed by the southern region, with the two regions accounting for 56 per cent of all incidents. […]

The incidents were indicative of a growing Taliban focus on attacking the bases of Afghan security forces rather than district centres, inflicting heavy casualties, weakening morale and stealing military equipment. […]

ISIL-KP remained resilient, claiming responsibility for several attacks against both the civilian population and military targets throughout the reporting period.” (UN General Assembly, 15 December 2017, p. 5)

„The Afghan government’s district and population control deteriorated to its lowest level since SIGAR began analyzing district-control data in December 2015 and population-control data in September 2016. According to USFOR-A, approximately 56.8% of the country’s 407 districts are under Afghan government control or influence as of August 24, 2017, a one-point decline over the last six months and a more than six-point decline from the same period last year. As reflected in Table 3.5, of the 407 districts of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, 231 districts were under government control (74 districts) or influence (157 districts).” (SIGAR, 30 October 2017, p. 106)

“Between 1 January and 31 December, UNAMA documented 10,453 civilian casualties (3,438 deaths and 7,015 injured), an overall decrease of nine per cent compared to 2016 and the first year-on-year decrease recorded by UNAMA since 2012. While the number of civilian deaths reduced by two per cent from 2016 and the number of civilians injured decreased by 11 per cent, the overall continuation of high numbers of civilian casualties underscores the enormous human cost of the ongoing armed conflict.” (UNAMA, 15 February 2018, p. 1)

“In 2017, civilian casualties decreased in 22 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. In the remaining 12 provinces, increased suicide and IED attacks in civilian-populated areas by Anti-Government Elements were the main cause for the increase in casualties, though a few also increased from ground fighting. […] After Kabul, the highest numbers of civilian casualties were recorded in Helmand, Nangarhar, Kandahar, Faryab, Uruzgan, Herat, Paktya, Kunduz, and Laghman provinces.” (UNAMA, 15 February 2018, p. 4)

“On 28 April, the Taliban announced the launch of their annual spring offensive, “Operation Mansouri”. Their statement in 2017 described a two -track approach involving military and political objectives, including advice to minimize civilian casualties and to focus on targeting foreign forces in Afghanistan and their Afghan partners. However, there has not been any significant improvement in civilian casualty statistics. On the day of the announcement, the Taliban captured the strategically important Zaybak district in Badakhshan Province, which borders Pakistan. It was retaken several weeks later by Afghan security forces. During the reporting period, the Taliban also temporarily captured Sangin district in Helmand Province, Qal‘ah-i Zal district in Kunduz Province and Khwajah Baha’ al-Din district in Takhar Province.” (UNGA, 15 June 2017, p. 4)

“The Taliban maintained their ability to contest territory across the country, compelling the Government to devote significant resources to maintain the status quo. In contrast with 2016, the Taliban have not launched any major attempts to capture a provincial capital since the announcement of their Operation Mansouri offensive in April. However, the Taliban were able to overrun and temporarily hold several district centres, including Taywara in the western province of Ghor, Kohistan and Ghormach in the northern province of Faryab and Jani Khel in the eastern province of Paktiya.” (UNGA, 15 September 2017, p. 5)

“The conflict has further evolved because of the Government’s strategic decision, as a result of Taliban gains in rural areas, to focus its resources on defending population centres and disrupting the consolidation of Taliban control over strategic areas. This change has led to an increasing number of clashes for control over lines of communication and vital infrastructure. In addition, the more secure hold of the Taliban over some rural areas has allowed them to undertake more frequent attacks in the north of Afghanistan.” (UNGA, 15 September 2017, p. 4-5)

“On 28 April, the Taliban announced the launch of their annual spring offensive, “Operation Mansouri”. Their statement in 2017 described a two -track approach involving military and political objectives, including advice to minimize civilian casualties and to focus on targeting foreign forces in Afghanistan and their Afghan partners. However, there has not been any significant improvement in civilian casualty statistics. On the day of the announcement, the Taliban captured the strategically important Zaybak district in Badakhshan Province, which borders Pakistan. It was retaken several weeks later by Afghan security forces. During the reporting period, the Taliban also temporarily captured Sangin district in Helmand Province, Qal‘ah-i Zal district in Kunduz Province and Khwajah Baha’ al-Din district in Takhar Province.” (UN General Assembly, 15 June 2017, p. 4)

“The Taliban maintained their ability to contest territory across the country, compelling the Government to devote significant resources to maintain the status quo. In contrast with 2016, the Taliban have not launched any major attempts to capture a provincial capital since the announcement of their Operation Mansouri offensive in April. However, the Taliban were able to overrun and temporarily hold several district centres, including Taywara in the western province of Ghor, Kohistan and Ghormach in the northern province of Faryab and Jani Khel in the eastern province of Paktiya.” (UNGA, 15 September 2017, p. 5)

1.2. State and Non-State Actors

1.2.1. Afghan Government and Security Forces

“[T]he Government continued to face increasing challenges owing to the high levels of attrition in the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police as a result of casualties and desertion as well as difficulties in securing new recruits, in particular at the officer entry level.” (UNGA, 15 September 2017, p. 5)

While Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) force strength increased modestly, force readiness improved across all elements, and the ANDSF prevented Taliban attempts to take and hold district capitals and key population centers, Coalition airstrike support continued to be essential to ANDSF success. Notably, these airstrikes more than doubled in frequency this quarter when compared to the same period in 2016.” (SIGAR, 30 July 2017, p. 82)[iv]

“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)[v]

1.2.2. 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)[vi]


“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)[vii]

“The total manpower of the Taliban, including combatants and support elements, exceeds 200,000. The fighters are about 150,000, of whom around 60,000 are in fulltime, mobile units and the rest are local militias. The mobile units are mostly based in Pakistan and Iran and deploy to Afghanistan during the fighting season […].” (Giustozzi, 23 August 2017, p. 12)[viii]


“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)[ix]

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)[x]

“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)

“ISIL-KP maintained a presence in southern Nangarhar Province despite increased military operations carried out by the United States of America and the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces. International military forces continued operations, including the use of a “massive ordnance air blast” that killed a reportedly high number of ISIL-KP members in Achin district, Nangarhar Province, on 13 April. In early May, government and United States military officials confirmed that the ISIL-KP leader, Abdul Hasib, had been killed in a United States Special Forces raid conducted on 27 April. ISIL-KP continued its attacks against the civilian population and military and foreign military targets, and unverified local sources claimed that ISIL-KP reinforcements and recruitment continued.” (UNGA, 15 June 2017, p. 5)

“U.S. forces have killed the leader of the Islamic State group's Afghanistan branch in a raid in the northeastern province of Kunar, the Pentagon said on July 14. ‘U.S. forces killed Abu Sayed, the emir of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria -- Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) -- in a strike on the group's headquarters in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, July 11,’ Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement, using an alternative name for the group. […] IS leaders chose Abu Sayed to lead the group after Afghan and U.S. forces killed the previous ISIS-K leaders -- Hafiz Sayed in late July last year and Abdul Hasib in late April.” (RFE/RL, 14 July 2017)

“While the group has not commented publicly on the reports of Abu Saeed’s death, ISKP sources have also rejected it; AAN knows from three ISKP sources that they denied these reports categorically.” (Osman, 23 July 2017)

“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)[xi]

“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)

2. Security Situation in Kabul

For information from 2012 through to 2015, see the following archived version of this featured topic:

“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)

“UNAMA continued to document the highest levels of civilian casualties in Kabul province, mainly from indiscriminate attacks in Kabul city. […] 88 per cent resulted from suicide and complex attacks carried out by Anti-Government Elements in Kabul city.” (UNAMA, 15 February 2018, p. 4)

In Kabul province, UNAMA documented 1,831 civilian casualties (479 deaths and 1,352 injured) between January and December 2017, a 4 per cent increase compared to the year 2016. The leading cause for civilian casualties in the province were suicide and complex attacks, followed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and targeted/deliberate killings. (UNAMA, 15 February 2018, p. 67)

2.1. Timeline of incidents in Kabul since January 2017

For a timeline from January 2011 to December 2012 see the following archived version of this featured topic:

For a timeline from January 2013 to December 2013 see the following archived version of this featured topic:

For a timeline from January 2014 to December 2014 see the following archived version of this featured topic:

For a timeline from January 2015 to December 2015, see the following archived version of this featured topic:

For a timeline from January 2016 to December 2016, see the following archived version of this featured topic:

MARCH 2018

“A suspected suicide bomb attack in an eastern district of Kabul on March 2 killed a 6-year-old girl and wounded 14 other people, Afghan officials said. Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that the blast was ‘a car bombing targeting a foreign forces’ convoy in the Qabel Bay district of the Afghan capital. […] No more details were immediately available. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing.” (RFE/RL, 2 March 2018)


“The Afghan Interior Ministry says a former lawmaker and his bodyguard were gunned down in the capital, Kabul. Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said Rafiullah Gul Afghan and his bodyguard were shot dead late February 24 when gunmen opened fire on their vehicle in the northern Kabul neighborhood of Khair Khana. Danish said the attackers escaped the scene of the crime and an investigation had been launched into the killings. […] No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.” (RFE/RL, 25 February 2018)

“A suicide attack in the capital Kabul left at least three security officers dead. […] In Kabul, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in an area dotted with key diplomatic buildings. "I was driving nearby when I heard a big explosion, the windows of my car were smashed. I saw several wounded people on the street near me," a witness told Afghan channel Tolonews TV.

Jihadist group Islamic State said it carried out the attack, Reuters reported.” (BBC News, 24 February 2018)


“The Afghan Defense Ministry says militants struck an army compound near the country’s main military academy in Kabul, killing at least 11 soldiers and wounding 16 others. The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility for the January 29 attack through its Amaq news agency.” (RFE/RL, 29 January 2018)

“A suicide bombing has killed at least 95 people and injured 158 others in the centre of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, officials say. Attackers drove an ambulance laden with explosives past a police checkpoint in a secure zone, home to government offices and foreign embassies. The Taliban have said they carried out the attack, the deadliest for months.” (BBC News, 28 January 2018)

“Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak announced on Sunday afternoon at a joint security press conference that the death tollfollowing Saturday’s deadly bombing in Kabul was now at 103 and 235 were wounded. He said many police officers were among the dead but did not give details. But he did say that among the wounded were 30 police officers.” (Tolo News, 28 January 2018)[xii]

“At least 22 people have now been reported killed in a siege by gunmen at Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel, the health ministry says. The attack ended more than 12 hours after gunmen in army uniforms entered the hotel around 21:00 local time (16:30 GMT) on Saturday. The Taliban said their fighters were behind the attack. Sources told national news channel, Tolo News, that the death toll could be as high as 43. […] The gunmen - armed with rocket-propelled grenades as well as smaller weapons - took many of the guests hostage. […] Several guests were pictured using bed sheets to try to climb down from a top-floor balcony. All six attackers have reportedly been killed.” (BBC News, 22 January 2018)

“The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) today releases its preliminary findings in to the suicide attack in Kabul on 4 January that killed 13 civilians and injured an additional 19. The attack, claimed by Islamic State, took place in the evening when the bomber detonated his body-borne improvised explosive device after the arrival of anti-riot police at a violent disturbance between security officials and shopkeepers that had been ongoing for several hours in the east of the capital. Twelve of the 13 slain were police officials, performing legitimate law enforcement functions of helping to restore order and safety for civilians during a violent incident.” (UNAMA, 7 January 2018)


“At least 41 people have been killed and more than 80 wounded in a suicide bomb attack in the Afghan capital, Kabul. A Shia cultural organisation was the target but the Afghan Voice news agency was also hit. So-called Islamic State said it was behind the attack. The interior ministry told the BBC an explosion at the Shia centre was followed by at least two more blasts.” (BBC News, 28 December 2017)


“At least 11 people have been killed in a suicide attack on a Kabul rally by supporters of Mohammad Atta Noor, the powerful governor of Afghanistan's northern Balkh Province. Noor, an outspoken critic of President Ashraf Ghani's national-unity government and a former factional militia leader in the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, was not attending the November 16 rally at the time of the attack. Kabul police told RFE/RL that at least nine police officers and two civilians were among those killed in the suicide bombing. Police said at least seven officers were injured in the blast.” (RFE/RL, 16 November 2017)

“An Afghan television station has returned to air just hours after an attack by militants left at least one staff member dead. Gunmen disguised as police officers stormed the Shamshad TV building in the Afghan capital Kabul. So-called Islamic State later said it was behind the attack. But soon after Afghan security forces brought the raid under control, a Shamshad anchor was back on the channel, reporting on the assault. At least three attackers were involved, armed with guns and grenades. The station said one blew himself up at the entrance gate while another went up to the roof to fire at security forces.” (BBC News, 7 November 2017)


“At least four people have been killed and 13 injured in a suicide attack in central Kabul, Afghan officials say. A spokesman for Kabul police told the BBC the bomber was thought to be as young as 12 or 13. The so-called Islamic State has said it was behind the attack.” (BBC News, 31 October 2017)

„At least 15 military cadets have been killed in a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghan officials say, bringing the death toll of a week of attacks by various militant groups to around 200.

Defence ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said four others were wounded in the explosion at the gates of Marshal Fahim military academy, as they were leaving by minibus.

The bomber was on foot. The Taliban have said they carried out the attack.” (BBC News, 21 October 2017)

“The October 20 attacks targeted a Shi'ite mosque in the capital, Kabul, and a Sunni mosque in the central Afghan province of Ghor. An Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman said that the death toll in the Kabul attack had risen to at least 56 people. At least 55 people were also injured after a suicide bomber blew himself up as worshippers were gathering for prayers at the Imam Zaman mosque in the western Dasht-e-Barchi section of the capital. The extremist group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in Kabul.” (RFE/RL, 21 October 2017)


“A suicide bomber has killed at least five people near a Shia mosque in Kabul ahead of the major religious commemoration of Ashura. The attacker disguised himself as a shepherd in order to approach the mosque, Kabul police's criminal investigative director told AFP.

‘The bomber was grazing a herd of sheep and before reaching his target he detonated,’ General Salim Almas said. So-called Islamic State (IS) said it was behind the attack.

At least 20 people were injured.” (BBC News, 29 September 2017)

“A US air strike against militants in the Afghan capital Kabul caused civilian casualties after a missile malfunctioned, officials said. The strike was in support of Afghan troops fighting insurgents who attacked Kabul airport with rockets shortly after US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis arrived on a visit. It is not clear how many civilians were killed or injured.” (BBC News, 27 September 2017)

“Afghan security officials say at least three civilians were wounded on September 24 when a suicide car bomber attacked a Danish military convoy from the NATO-led international mission in Kabul. […] A Taliban spokesman said a Taliban fighter carried out the attack, claiming up to 16 U.S. soldiers were killed or injured.” (RFE/RL, 24 September 2017)

“A Finnish aid worker kidnapped in Afghanistan in May has been freed, Finland's foreign ministry says.” (BBC News, 14 September 2017)

“At least three people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up while attempting to enter a cricket stadium in the Afghan capital, Kabul, officials say. Police said the September 13 blast also injured at least seven people near the Kabul International Cricket Stadium, where hundreds of fans were watching a tournament involving both Afghan and foreign players.” (RFE/RL, 13 September 2017)


“Afghan officials say a suicide bomber has blown himself up at a bank in the center of Kabul, killing at least five people and wounding eight others. […] The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it had targeted security-forces personnel withdrawing their salaries.” (RFE/RL, 29 August 2017)

“Suicide bombers and gunmen, some dressed in police uniforms, attacked a mosque in Kabul during prayers on Friday, killing more than 40 people and wounding more than 100, according to mosque leaders. Many of the victims were women trapped on the mosque's second floor. The United Nations put the preliminary toll at 20 civilians killed and more than 30 wounded, while the Interior Ministry said 28 people died and 50 were wounded.” (Thomson Reuters, 26 August 2017)[xiii]

JULY 2017

“Afghan security forces battled gunmen following a suicide attack outside the Iraqi embassy in the capital, Kabul. A bomber blew himself up at the embassy's gate, then three other attackers entered the compound, the Afghan interior ministry said. Two Afghan embassy employees were killed, and three people, including a police officer, were injured, a spokesperson told the BBC. So-called Islamic State (IS) said it carried out the attack. After a gunfight lasting several hours, Afghan authorities said the attack was over and all the assailants had been killed.” (BBC News, 31 July 2017)

“Police in the Afghan capital, Kabul, have opened fire on anti-government protesters, killing at least one person, officials say. The authorities moved in early on Tuesday to break up a makeshift protest camp in the city centre. Several others were injured. Protests began almost three weeks ago, after a massive vehicle bomb in the city centre left more than 150 dead. Demonstrators accuse the government of failing to provide security.” (BBC News, 20 June 2017)

JUNE 2017

Authorities in Afghanistan say a bomb and gun attack on a Shi'ite mosque in Kabul has killed five people. The extremist group Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the June 15 attack. Deputy Interior Minister Murad Ali Murad said that two bombers carried it out and that six people were wounded in addition to the five dead.” (RFE/RL, 15 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)[xiv]

“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)[xv]

“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)


“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)


“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)

3. Sources

(all links accessed 12 March 2018)

[i] The US Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a public policy research arm of the US Congress.

[ii] 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.

[iii] Human Rights Watch (HRW) is a US-based international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights.

[iv] The Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) is a US government body that provides oversight on reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan

[v] 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.

[vi] The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is a political UN mission established on 28 March 2002 by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1401.

[vii] 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.

[viii] Antonio Giustozzi is an Afghanistan scholar and Visiting Professor in the Department of War Studies of King’s College London.

[ix] 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.

[x] The Jamestown Foundation (JF) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides information on terrorism, the former Soviet republics, Chechnya, China, and North Korea.

[xi] The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster headquartered in London.

[xii] Tolo News is an Afghan news and current affairs broadcaster.

[xiii] Thomson Reuters is a New York and Toronto-based multinational mass media and information firm.

[xiv] Martine van Bijlert and Thomas Ruttig are co-directors of the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN).

[xv] 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.

This featured topic was prepared after researching solely on 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 and is referred to with a hyperlink to the respective document on

ACCORD – Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation
12 March 2018

1.1. Security in the country
1.2. State and Non-State Actors
1.2.1. Afghan Government and Security Forces
1.2.2. Insurgent Groups
2. Security Situation in Kabul
2.1. Timeline of incidents in Kabul since January 2017
3. Sources