U.S. State Department: Look out for terrorist beggars

Terrorist Tactics

  • 5 pages
  • Sensitive But Unclassified
  • June 2005

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Surveillance by those with their hands out

(SBU) On January 20, a suicide bomber disguised as a beggar approached Afghan warlord General Abdul Rashid Dostum outside a mosque in northern Afghanistan. Though the “beggar” detonated his device one meter from Dostum, no one was killed in the explosion other than the bombers himself. In this issue of Terrorist Tactics, we will see how posing as a beggar can serve as a clever ruse to carry out pre-operational surveillance.

(SBU) As part of the Eid Al-Adha celebrations, a public prayer was held at Boghdi park in the northern Afghanistan city of Sheberghan, Jawzjan Province.* Afghan warlord General Abdul Rashid Dostum was among the 2,000 attendees. At approximately 9:30 a.m., just after Eid prayers, a suicide bomber disguised as a beggar approached Dostum outside a local mosque. Dostum’s bodyguards immediately stopped the “beggar” and he detonated his device as they were wrestling him down to the ground. The bomber was killed in the explosion, and Dostum — standing approximately one meter from the bomber — was knocked down by the blast. He was rushed to a local hospital for an examination, but was unhurt. According to reports, as many as 26 other people were injured in the explosion, some seriously. Among the injured was Dostum’s brother, Abdul Khadir, who is the deputy chief of mission at the Afghanistan Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

(U) Following the attack, Mullah Adul Hakim Latifi — claiming to speak for the Taliban — said “thousands of Taliban had surrendered but Dostum and his men had killed them …we will attack any Afghans who are allies of the Americans or the present government.” His remarks were via a satellite call from an undisclosed location. (Note: The Taliban accuses Dostum’s militia of “slaughtering” Taliban prisoners during the U.S.- led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.)

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