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SUICIDE BOMB DETONATES OUTSIDE KANDAHAR BANK AND AQAP ATTACK KILLS SOUTHERN TRANSITIONAL COUNCIL TROOPS IN YEMEN

March 21-27, 2024 | Issue 12 - CENTCOM/AFRICOM Team

Giorgia Cito, Eamon Kobel, Meaghan Mackey

Brantley Williams, Jessica Wilson, Editor; Radhika Ramalinga Venkatachalam, Senior Editor


Suicide Bomb Detonated in Kandahar[1]


Date: March 21, 2024

Location: Kandahar, Afghanistan

Parties involved: Afghanistan; Afghan Taliban government; Afghan Taliban officials; Afghan military personnel; Afghan civilians; ISIS

The event: A suicide bomber detonated in front of a bank in Kandahar where approximately 150 Afghan government employees gathered to collect their paychecks. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack.[2] The attack allegedly resulted in at least 19 fatalities and wounded 18 individuals, although Taliban officials in Kandahar reported three deaths and 13 injuries following the incident.[3] Since 2021, ISIS has continued to launch attacks, primarily targeting ethnic minorities and the Taliban.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • ISIS will very likely continue to target Taliban government officials and military personnel, likely in an attempt to undermine the Taliban rule and diminish public trust in the government. The group almost certainly intends to disassemble and replace the Taliban government, likely to implement a caliphate within Afghanistan based on its interpretation of Islamic law. ISIS will very likely use suicide bombings, targeted assassinations, and attacks on foreign embassies supporting the Taliban government as tactics to carry out any future campaign and lower morale among their supporters.

  • The Taliban government is likely seeking to underreport such incidents, very likely aiming to maintain an image of control and stability while minimizing public panic over internal security challenges. Inconsistent reporting to protect citizens will likely erode public confidence in the government and military. There is a roughly even chance that the deterioration of the relationship between the communities and the state authorities will result in increased political instability, likely leading to a vacuum of power that opposition groups will exploit.

  • ISIS will likely continue to exploit ethnic and sectarian tensions to further its agenda of destabilization, almost certainly seeking to deepen existing divisions within Afghan society. ISIS will likely recruit disaffected individuals and capitalize on local grievances to expand its influence in Afghanistan. This will almost certainly deepen social unrest in the country, likely further degrading possible reconciliation among diverse ethnic groups.


Date: March 24, 2024

Location: Wadi Omran Area, Abyan Province, Yemen

Parties involved: Yemen; Yemeni military; Yemen’s secessionist organization Southern Transitional Council (STC); armed branch of STC, Southern Armed Forces (SAF); Sunni Islamist extremist group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP); former AQAP leader Khalid al-Batarfi; internally displaced people (IDP); United Arab Emirates (UAE); US

The event: AQAP attacked STC troops in Yemen's Abyan province, killing two and injuring four. The ambush provoked gun battles and destroyed a military vehicle. The STC, backed by the UAE, controls much of southern Yemen and has attacked al-Qaeda strongholds in the region in recent weeks. This is the first attack by AQAP since the announcement of the death of its leader earlier this month.[5]

Analysis & Implications:

  • AQAP will likely continue to operate in Yemen’s Abyan province to demonstrate resilience following its leader’s death, with the SAF very likely countering the group’s activities. The AQAP will very likely orchestrate further attacks against the STC and the SAF, likely taking advantage of the instability due to the ongoing civil conflict in the country. The SAF will very likely intensify its military operations against AQAP with the support of the UAE and the US to ensure security in the controlled region.

  • The likely increase in AQAP operations will very likely deteriorate the humanitarian crisis in the country, with the resulting internal displacement likely affecting the neighboring regions. Food and water insecurity will likely surge as civilians are caught in the violence of these operations, very likely pushing the country toward famine. The crisis will likely exacerbate the availability of food and medical supplies, likely increasing the mortality rate. The IDP rates will likely expand as the violence worsens in the province, likely further burdening other regions within Yemen.


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[1] Bomb, generated by a third party database

[2] Afghanistan: IS claims responsibility for suicide bomb at Kandahar bank, BBC, March 2024, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-68625242 

[3] Deadly Suicide Bombing Strikes Outside Bank In Kandahar As Taliban Employees Wait For Pay, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, March 2024, https://www.rferl.org/a/afghanistan-kandahar-explosion-taliban-pay-islamic-state/32871326.html 

[4] Afghanistan: IS claims responsibility for suicide bomb at Kandahar bank, BBC, March 2024, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-68625242 

[5] An al-Qaida attack in Yemen kills 2 troops loyal to a secessionist group, officials say, AP, March 2024, https://apnews.com/article/yemen-qaida-attack-war-28d889e4ac99e87787867255fd12d5f0

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