Report: Taliban continue offensive against Afghan intel agency

On Sunday, Taliban attackers targeted the headquarters of the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) in Jalalabad and another directorate facility located deep in the heart of Kabul, according to recent reports. 

Afghan insurgents were able set off their vehicle packed with explosives just outside NDS headquarters, killing one security guard, two Afghan intelligence agents and wounding three more, provincial government spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulza told The Associated Press.  

The explosion also caused damage to the directorate building as well, Abdulza said. 

In Kabul, NDS security guards were able to kill a Taliban suicide bomber before he was able to detonate his explosives in front of the directorate's facility, located next to NATO's main headquarters in the city.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid only claimed responsibility for the successful strike against the directorate's headquarters and two other suicide bombings against Afghan national police checkpoints in Logar province, south of Kabul. 

"Once again the enemies of peace and stability in Afghanistan … staged coordinated attacks against the Afghan security forces and the Afghan people," according to an NDS statement issued Monday. 

The attacks in Kabul and Jalalabad come days after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta set the timetable for the final withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by 2014. 

Over half of the remaining 66,000 American troops in country will come home this spring, with the final 32,000 troops cycling back to the United States after the Afghan presidential elections in next April, according to Panetta.  

Panetta's announcement on the withdrawal timeline was prompted by the Pentagon's growing confidence in Afghanistan's military and national police, which are to take full control of all security operations this spring. 

Sunday's strike was the second time NDS has been targeted by Taliban fighters, indicating an rapidly accelerating terror campaign by the insurgency ahead of the American withdrawal. 

In January, A minivan laden with high explosives detonated outside the main gates of the NDS compound in Kabul, which also houses other Afghan ministerial offices based in the Afghan capital. 

An Afghan Ministry of Interior security guard was killed and over 30 others wounded in the blast, which destroyed nearby buildings and vehicles and could be felt by residents three blocks away from the attack, according to reports at the time. 

Shortly after the initial bombing, several Taliban fighters armed with suicide vests pulled up to the blast site in an attempt to storm the compound and inflict further damage to NDS headquarters. 

Afghan security forces killed the would-be bombers before they could breach the compound's perimeter and were able to defuse a second bomb discovered in the gunmen's van, local reports stated in January.