Afghanistan: Taliban Al-Hamza Brigade carried out Kabul assault says message

Kabul, 12 Feb. (AKI) - The Taliban's al-Hamza Brigades carried out the deadly attacks in the capital Kabul on Wednesday that killed 28 people and injured scores, claimed messages posted to various jihadist websites and signed by the Taliban.

"Sixteen mujahadeen martyrs from the al-Hamza Brigades executed the Kabul operation on the orders of (Taliban leader) Mullah Omar," said the message.

Eight attackers died in the coordinated assault against government ministries in central Kabul, in which they used Kalishnikov rifles, grenades and explosive vests.

Twenty others were killed in the attack, which came on the eve of a visit by US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke. A further 52 people were injured. The Taliban claimed the assault shortly after it began.

"The attack was conducted in revenge for those prisoners who died at the hands of the Crusaders and their servants in Pul-i-Charkhi prison during the last Eid Festival of Islamic Sacrifice," the purported Taliban message said.

Most Taliban prisoners are held in the US-run Pul-i-Charkhi jail outside Kabul. The jail gained notoriety for its treatment of prisoners as long ago as during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979-1989).

The message claimed that a Taliban member named Mullah Musa Kalim had lead the squad of suicide attackers. It described how several of the militants detonated their explosive belts at the justice ministry's correction department, managing to target several generals from the Afghan army.

The message also described the assault on the justice ministry in which militants claimed to have killed dozens of policemen and ministry workers during a three-hour siege. Four of the militants were 'martyred' during the siege, the message claimed.

The message claimed in total eight militants died in the Kabul assault and eight survived. It claimed 100 policemen and ministry employees were killed and over 15 injured.

The tactics used by the Taliban militants who carried out the assault bore similarities to those used in last November's deadly attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai, according to Afghan intelligence officials.

Indian officials have blamed Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba for the Mumbai attacks.


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