Taliban Continues Resurgence, Bombs Journalists

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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The Taliban took credit for Wednesday’s suicide bombing of a news agency in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

The bombing marks the latest in a string of attacks the the group has perpetrated in recent months.

The attack targeted TOLO News, Aghanistan’s 24-hour news channel, during rush hour close to the Russian embassy. TOLO News has confirmed that seven people died in the attack, six of which were staff. The seventh fatality remains undisclosed. The Taliban engaged in a slew of attacks in Afghanistan, and particularly Kabul, in recent months, one of which occurred in the embassy district in December of 2015.

“[The Taliban] threatened TOLO explicitly after it reported on [the] Taliban takeover of Kunduz,” said Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal, a publication focused on the war against terrorism, to The Daily Caller News Foundation. Kunduz is a provincial capital city in the north of Afghanistan.

Al Jazeera reported Wednesday witnesses claim the attacker rammed a bus carrying TOLO staff with either a car or motorbike and detonated himself shortly after.

In early December 2015, the Taliban engaged in a massive attack on the crucial Kandahar airport just north of Kabul. The assault involved an entire team of suicide bombers coordinating their attacks against security forces, leaving 37 dead and another 35 wounded.

While the Taliban has increased its presence attacks in Afghanistan, Roggio notes the specific targeting of journalists is somewhat different than the previous attacks which targeted security and government installations. “I can’t think of a similar attack like this but Afghanistan is definitely a dangerous place for journalists,” noted Roggio.

While it does not appear that any American citizens were killed, American lives have also fallen victim to the Taliban’s resurgence. Earlier this month, Staff Sgt. Matthew McClintock was killed while fighting with Afghan forces in an attempt to retake the town of Marjah from Taliban control.

Roggio has no doubts the Taliban resurgence will continue: “[they] are not letting up on their attacks across Afghanistan, it senses the government and military are weak and [they] are not pausing to rest for the winter months.”

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