Seven massive explosions, including two suicide car bombings, rocked Kandahar late Saturday in what appears to be one of the movements’ biggest coordinated operations since they took up arms against Hamid Karzai’s government eight years ago.
The dead include 13 police officers and 22 civilians, the Interior Ministry said Sunday. At least ten of the victims were attending a wedding party, according to provincial governor Turyalai Wisa.
A Taliban representative, giving his name as Yousuf Ahmadi, told the AFP news agency that the movement’s members carried out the attacks, which began at Kandahar’s main prison and targeted government buildings.
He said that they were a response to US General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of foreign troops in Afghanistan, who has pledged to drive the Taliban out of Kandahar, their historic base.
“This was an answer to General McChrystal, who announced Operation Omaid in Kandhar,” Ahmadi said. “This was to sabotage the operation and to show that we can strike anywhere, any time we want.”
Operation Omaid will aim to follow up on Operation Moshtarak, which succeeded in capturing Marjah in Helmand province from the Taliban.