The recent attack by the Taliban and its affiliated groups in Kabul are to grab the attention of the international media ahead of an election in October, according to the US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.
A double suicide blast in Kabul was carried forward by the Taliban on 30th April. It killed 25 people including at least eight other journalists.
“They need international media to, basically, broadcast this going on so they can undercut through those kinds of attacks, what’s obviously setting them on their back foot diplomatically, militarily,” Mattis said they had been anticipating this.
“We anticipated that they would do their best to try to bring bombs right into Kabul. They want them reported,” he stated.
Stating that several attacks have been stopped already, he regretted that the terrorist groups have gotten through on a few occasions. “The Taliban realize the danger of the people being allowed to vote,” Mattis said. He also stated that therefore, they are targeting the locations where either registration for polls is being coordinated or where voting will be going on.
Mattis noted that there have been many demonstrations from Lashkar Gah to Kandahar to Kabul against the violence of the Taliban, directly against them.
“When you consider that, in this kind of situations, when they go out and they concentrate in a group like that, they are vulnerable because it’s impossible to always to have a ring of steel around them, or inside a protected place,” he said.
He further added that the Taliban delayed announcing their spring offensive until very recently. Moreover, they were taken aback evidently by the blend of last August’s fighting and that the decision of the US to stay on in the country.
“There have been strikes against their financial networks, and then President Ashraf Ghani came out and said we’re willing to talk, to negotiate and it put them on their back foot. I think they’re now trying to recover in the interim,” he said.
The attack, claimed by the Islamic State group, was condemned internationally by numerous groups, including the United Nations and the European Union. It has spurred an outpouring of grief among Afghan journalists, several of whom took to Twitter to post tributes to friends and colleagues. The attack has been said – by Reporters Without Borders – to be the most lethal single attack on the media since the fall of the Taliban.