Taliban suicide team strikes hotel

A Taliban suicide assault team attacked a hotel in the northwestern Afghan province of Badghis earlier today, killing six police officers and two civilians. The attack took place just days after the Taliban reportedly committed to protect residential areas in order to limit civilian casualties.

Afghan officials said five Taliban “suicide bombers” launched the attack on the civilian complex in Qala-i-Naw, the provincial capital, TOLONews reported. Police then surrounded the building and battled the Taliban for hours before killing three and capturing two more. Six security personnel, including a local police commander, and two civilians were killed during the fighting.

In a statement released on Voice of Jihad, the Taliban took credit for the assault, and said it attacked a police station.

“Amid ongoing Al Fath operations, martyrdom seeking Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate’s martyrdom squad carried out operations on police headquarter in capital Kala-e-Naw midday today,” the Taliban statement said.

Al Fath is the name of the Taliban’s 2019 offensive. The Taliban occasionally releases propaganda lauding its suicide squads and martyrdom battalions.

According to Reuters, the Taliban entered the hotel complex and took up positions in order to attack the police headquarters as well as the provincial governor’s office.

The attack occurred just days after the Taliban supposedly agreed to reduce civilian casualties by not launching attacks in civilian areas. The Taliban met with representatives of Afghan civil society in Doha, Qatar earlier this week. The Afghan government was not represented as the Taliban has been steadfast in its refusal to meet with it. The Taliban has repeatedly used the so-called peace process to sideline the Afghan government and divide the country while furthering its political aims.

According to the agreement, which was posted on the Afghan High Peace Council’s website, the Taliban made a “Commitment to protect the dignity of people, their life and property, residential areas and efforts to minimize civilian casualties to Zero.”

However, the Taliban likely does not see the attack in Badghis as an attack on civilians. It views the Afghan government as a “puppet” of the West, and thus a legitimate target in its fight against “foreign occupation.”

Abbas Stanikzai, the chief of the Taliban’s delegation in Doha indicated as much while responding to a question from Voice of America on July 9.