Economic jihad, as well as an opportunity to terrorize people going about their business. This attack fits an earlier report that the jihadist group was increasing its focus on “soft targets.” So much the better to be “victorious with terror” (Sahih Bukhari 4.52.220). “Afghanistan: Fierce fighting follows Kandahar attack,” from BBC News, May 7:
Afghanistan’s second city Kandahar has been rocked by fierce fighting after militants launched a series of attacks.
The provincial governor’s office, the Afghan spy agency and a police station have been targeted.
There have been at least six suicide attacks, and about 23 people, including three policemen, have been injured.
US helicopter gunships are reported to have been involved. It comes hours after the Taliban vowed to avenge al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden’s death.
The Taliban says it is behind the attacks in Kandahar.
Death to Orange Julius:
Gunmen in a four-storey shopping centre have been exchanging fire with security forces in Governor Tooryalai Wesa’s compound.
Rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns and hand grenades have been used by both sides, and there have been at least seven explosions, paralysing the city, says the BBC’s Bilal Sarwary in Kabul.
Two suicide bombers who tried to attack police were shot dead before they could reach their targets.
Witnesses said panic spread as the fighting began, with people running through the streets for safety and shopkeepers closing their stores in case of looting.
“Forget human, even the birds have fled the city,” a shopkeeper in Kandahar’s Chowke Madad district told our correspondent.
A witness quoted by Reuters news agency said he could see black smoke rising near Mr Wesa’s compound. […]
Mr Wesa’s spokesman, Zalmai Ayoubi, told Reuters from inside the compound: “The Taliban are attacking the governor’s compound and the fighting is still ongoing.
“Three civilians in the compound have been wounded but the governor’s staff are all fine.”
The governor appeared on private Shamshad TV. ”I am alive and well, sitting with my friends here in my office,” he said. “No matter how many fighters the Taliban have got in the city, they will be killed one-by-one.”
Afghan and US forces have launched a counter-operation. “The aim is to clear the shopping centre from Taliban,” a local security official told our correspondent.
“We think there are 10 or more Taliban there – some of them suicide bombers. We want to clear the building.”
Nato said it was aware of the attack, and it was helping Afghans provide security, but that it was not aware of its helicopters taking part.
Taliban spokesman Yusuf Ahmadi said this was not a revenge attack for the death of Osama Bin Laden, but had been planned for some time as part of the insurgents’ annual “spring offensive”, announced last week….