For years, the Taliban’s suicide bombers frequently struck high-profile political and security targets in Afghanistan’s major cities.
But in a marked shift, the Taliban is now targeting civilians — government workers, journalists, rights activists, moderate religious leaders, and women in public roles — in urban areas.
The extremist group has reduced the number of indiscriminate, headline-grabbing suicide bombings it carries out. Instead, the militants are using so-called “sticky” bombs — homemade magnetic bombs attached to vehicles and often detonated remotely — to target specific individuals.
In a new trend, many of the targeted killings have gone unclaimed, with the Taliban denying responsibility in many cases.
Observers say the new tactics are a response to the U.S.-Taliban deal signed in February 2020, which limits where and what type of attacks the militants can conduct.
The shift, observers say, is also linked to the Taliban’s strategy at peace talks with the Afghan government.
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