Kabul blast shows Taliban have 'no control', warns ex-government official

Several Taliban members are reportedly among the dead

Taliban fighters on guard at the site of an explosion near a military airfield in Kabul. AP
Powered by automated translation

A blast at a military airfield in Kabul which is understood to have killed several Taliban members shows the hardline Islamists have “no control” over security, a former Afghan government minister has said.

ISIS on Monday used a Telegram post to claim responsibility for the New Year’s Day explosion, which killed at least 14 people.

Afghan media reported that several Taliban members were among the dead. The group, which has been in power since August 2021, has offered no details about the attack.

Jawed Ludin, who served as deputy foreign minister, spokesman and chief of staff under former president Hamid Karzai, said the deadly blast shows the Taliban are not able to maintain order in the country.

“Above all what it tells us is that the Taliban have no control,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “If there was one positive thing that the Taliban had a credible claim of achieving it was to end the war and to bring some security to the country.”

“This attack is not a one-off incident,” he added. “It’s part of a campaign that we’re seeing targeting the Taliban and now obviously they’re getting closer to military establishments.

“While this may not be to the same level of violence that Afghanistan experienced when the Taliban were fighting the republic, nonetheless it shows an organised military challenge to the Taliban.”

Taliban mark one year in power — in pictures

Mr Ludin stressed that multiple extremist groups “have a reason to send a message to the Taliban saying ‘hey, we’re here and we have the ability to strike.’”

He said ISK is being “used as a label” for terrorist groups opposing the Taliban and that the architects of latest attack “could well be any of the other military outfits out there”.

The former government official said the fact that such violence is rocking Afghanistan shows the Taliban cannot live up to the commitment they made to the US in Doha. The group, when it rose to power in August 2021 following the departure of American troops, promised they would not let the nation be used by terror groups.

Speaking before ISIS claimed responsibility, Abdul Nafy Takor, a spokesman for Afghanistan's interior ministry, said the cause of Sunday’s blast at the gate of the facility next to Kabul's international airport was unclear.

“A number of our compatriots have been martyred and wounded in the blast,” he said, adding that authorities were investigating the incident.

Taliban officials including Mr Takor declined to offer any other details, despite repeated requests for information.

A man living in Kabul said his brother, an air force officer, was killed in the blast.

“He had worked in the previous government too as an air force officer,” Abdul Noor told AFP, referring to the ousted, western-backed government of former president Ashraf Ghani.

“He and some of his colleagues were in a queue waiting to enter the military airfield when the blast occurred,” Mr Noor said, indicating the blast had caused more casualties.

Updated: January 02, 2023, 12:51 PM