Govt.'s negligence, circles seen behind spike in VBIED attacks

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GHAZNI: As several Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) attacks in southern Ghazni province have left dozens of Afghan soldiers killed and wounded this year, some local officials accuse the central government of dereliction of duty, as well as blame harmful figures inside the administration for the deteriorated security situation.


The Afghan Peace Watch (APW) through its RiV-monitoring initiative has recorded a total of 59 VBIED attacks since February 2020 – of them, the Taliban have claimed credit for merely 19.  


At least 79 civilians, 189 ANDSF and 90 Taliban have so far been killed in these bombing and complex attacks.


Surprisingly, about 37 of these bombings remain unclaimed. The government authorities accuse the Taliban of being responsible, but the group has remained tight-lipped. The question arises as to what other militancy is capable of such subversive activities.  


During the ongoing solar year that began on March 21, three car bombings were conducted on Afghan security forces’ positions in Ghazni’s capital, inflicting dozens of casualties on security personnel.


In the latest of the horrific bombings, at least 31 Afghan soldiers were killed and 28 others were wounded when an explosives-laden Humvee vehicle hit a base of Public Protection Forces in the Qala-i-Jawz area in Ghazni city on Nov. 29.


Another VBIED attack on Public Protection Forces took place in the Rawza area of Ghazni city on August 8 that left 17 soldiers killed and 30 others wounded.


On May 18, in a similar attack on the National Directorate of Security (NDS) unit, located close to the Islamic Culture Building in Ghazni city, at least 10 soldiers were killed and 43 others were wounded.


Following the Nov. 29 Ghazni attack, the US Chargé d’Affaires in Afghanistan Ross Wilson said that the Taliban failed to act in accordance with the US-Taliban agreement or reduce violence.


He termed the ongoing violence in Afghanistan as unacceptable and blamed the Taliban for ignoring calls of the US and its allies to reduce hostilities. “Taliban are not committed to the promises the group made in Doha deal as violence levels are still high.”


Spike in car bombings on security forces worries locals


Ghazni governor’s spokesman, Wahidullah Jummazada, deflected a question posed about the failure of intelligence organs in preventing VBIED attacks, saying that every incident was being investigated by delegations appointed from the central and local governments.


He said that a probing team comprised of members from the Ministry of Defense, National Directorate of Security (NDS) and Ministry of Interior (MoI) had arrived from Kabul to investigate last week’s incident in Ghazni province.


Deputy Provincial Council Head Amanullah Kamrani claimed there were some figures within the government who committed illicit activities and strived to weaken the government. 


He said that the situation could be improved if the destructive figures were identified and brought to justice. However, Kamrani did not name anyone.


About the probing team tasked for the investigation of the recent attack, he said “These teams are never helpful, they investigated past attacks too but could not prevent any.”


He said that Afghan security forces should be allowed to go out of their bases for operations against the Taliban, something Kamrani termed as more helpful in preventing future assaults.


A day earlier, the Ministry of Defense in a statement said that the mastermind behind the recent attack in Ghazni was killed in an airstrike. However, Ghazni people say the organizers of such attacks should be targeted before they reach their goals.


Taliban have claimed only one of the three VBIED attacks in Ghazni, which targeted a security base in the Islamic Culture Building’s premises, while other attacks remain unclaimed.


Gul Agha, one of the policemen who received facial injuries in the VBIED attack on Public Protection Forces’ base, said when the car bomb hit their battalion, some explosives that they had retrieved from Ghazni-Kabul highway also went off immediately after the attack, killing 17 soldiers and wounding more than 30 others.


OrbandNews reached out to security officials on this issue of public concern but couldn’t establish contact.


Local NDS commander Attaullah Khan said the vehicle was eliminated before reaching the target; however, it killed nearly 40 people. 


Political analyst Matiullah Kamalpuri pointed out that the lack of intelligence was one of the shortcomings, leading to the Taliban’s ability to carry out attacks in Ghazni and across the country – with Humvee vehicles. 


“There is a lack of coordination among security organs. Another drawback is that the Humvee tanks disappear, but the security personnel remain indifferent; eventually, we witness such deadly incidents.”


Mudassar Haqmal, who has worked as a soldier in the security establishment but is now running a freelance business, says soldiers are always on the alert in the bunkers, and when incidents of Humvees being stolen occur, they are told to continue fighting and don’t worry about such happenings.


“If you don’t pay much attention, you end up witnessing the same thing again and again.”


This is while another car bomb blast in Gardez city, the capital of southeastern Paktia province, killed 19 civilians and three intelligence officials and wounded four others last Monday. In southern Kandahar, three policemen were killed and five others wounded in a Taliban-claimed car bombing that targeted a police outpost in the Arghistan district on Saturday morning. 


The most recent of the bombings came on Dec. 07, when two VBIEDS targeted Kandahar’s different districts, inflicting scores of casualties on civilians and security personnel alike.


The car bombings trend take shape while the intra-Afghan talks in Doha are sluggishly progressing, as the sides have merely finalized procedural rules after nearly three months while civilians bear the brunt of the continued war.