Insurgents launch raids in to Kabul's embassy district and elsewhere 6 replies

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Commissar MercZ

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#1 7 years ago

The government however, claims it has ended the threat. At the height of the attack by the insurgents, raids pounded the diplomatic quarter of Kabul and attacked installations in some eastern districts in the country. According to the western forces there, afghan security forces responded to the crisis mostly on their own with minimal support from them beyond a helicopter and the observers embedded with them. A

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/16/world/asia/attacks-near-embassies-in-kabul.html

Coordinated Attacks Rock Afghan Capital and Provinces By ALISSA J. RUBIN, GRAHAM BOWLEY and SANGAR RAHIMI

KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen barraged the diplomatic quarter of the Afghan capital and the Parliament for hours on Sunday and struck at least three eastern provinces as well, in a complex attack clearly designed to undermine confidence in NATO and Afghan military gains.

As night fell, there was still sporadic gunfire in the capital, and the police had cordoned off parts of the city. The airport was closed to traffic, underscoring that although the suicide bombers and gunmen were few in number, they could hold buildings for hours, disrupt normal life and terrify locals.

The simultaneous attacks — there were at least three in Kabul, two in Nangahar Province and one each in Paktia and Logar provinces — tested the Afghan military and police who responded in Kabul with minimal help from NATO other than back up from French helicopters and the small number of mentors that are embedded with some Afghan security units, according to Western military officials.

There were no NATO troops seen around the city, and by late afternoon Afghan crisis response teams were in place at the Parliament and in the streets near the foreign embassies, according to people who were in the area.

The choreography of the attacks, the focus on high profile Afghan government and foreign targets and the use of multiple suicide bombers, was similar to a number of previous attacks including one last September on the American Embassy in which the Haqqani network, an offshoot of the Taliban that is headquartered in Pakistan’s tribal areas, was found to be directly involved.

“This does have all the hallmarks of Haqqani on it,” said Colonel Daniel J. W. King, spokesman for NATO’s joint command. “It’s been over 150 days since the Haqqanis launched a successful attack on Kabul; they have to do this if they are going to have any credibility.”

He added: “If this is the best they can do to start their fighting season, then obviously the Afghan security forces and others are having a significant impact,” he said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks and described the extravagant onslaught as the opening of their spring offensive. “This is a message to those foreign commanders who claim that the Taliban lost momentum,” said Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman. “We just showed that we are here and we will launch and stage attacks whenever we want.”

In an interview on CNN, the American Ambassador, Ryan C. Crocker, who was speaking from the locked-down American Embassy praised the Afghan security forces as having “acquitted themselves very, very well, very professionally” and said that his assessment was that this was a Haqqani network operation.

He went on to say that attacks like this strengthened the case for Americans staying until the Afghans were fully ready to handle the situation on their own.

While the Taliban threat is real, it is often hard to measure. Sometimes it takes the shape it did on Sunday of periodic complex attacks on specific targets rather than a concerted effort to hold significant territory, as the movement did in the South a few years ago. The picture in eastern Afghanistan is less clear — there, the Taliban still have real control of some areas and intimidating levels of influence in others.

“There’s a very dangerous enemy out there with capabilities and with safe havens in Pakistan,” Mr. Crocker said. “To get out before the Afghans have a full grip on security, which is a couple of years out, would be to invite the Taliban, Haqqani, and Al Qaeda back in and set the stage for another 9/11. And that, I think, is an unacceptable risk for any American.”

While attacks like today’s accomplish the classic terrorist goal of shaking people’s confidence and temporarily halting daily life, it does not necessarily win support for their cause indeed it can even rally opposition.

In a moment of fellowship and perhaps reckless bravery, as the assault began on the Parliament building and rockets were exploding just outside the compound, three lawmakers from disparate backgrounds decided to stay. One, Muhammad Naim Hamidzai, the head of Parliament’s Internal Security committee, who had worked previous for the Interior Ministry, he said, grabbed the PK machine gun toted by his bodyguard and headed for the roof of the Parliament.

“The Parliament is the house of the nations, and we are representatives of the people and we need to defend the nation’s house,” he said. “So I took the gun from my bodyguard and began shooting at the terrorists.”

He stopped when the Interior Ministry’s crisis response teams arrived.

One of his colleagues, Khudadad Urfani, a Hazara lawmaker from Ghazni, described Mr. Hamidzai as “a brave boy of Kandahar defended the Parliament” but he deplored the situation and said it showed the weakness of the government and in particular security officials who appeared to have lacked sufficient intelligence about the attack to stop it.

“First it shows the weakness of the government and the incompetence of the security minister,” said Mr. Urfani, who added that he agreed with others who believed that this was an effort to show that the Taliban could still muster a large attack. “They wanted to disrupt the past few months calm and peace in Kabul City,” he said.

The insurgents used the same technique that had proved successful in their siege last September of the American Embassy of climbing into an unfinished building and using it as a perch to rain down rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire. Kabul is a city in the midst of a construction boom, and on every other block in heavily populated areas there are either unfinished or unoccupied buildings often with few guards to stop people, much less gunmen, from entering.

In all three attacks in Kabul, as well as one in Logar and another in Paktia Province, the insurgents occupied unused buildings near sensitive installations.

Multiple suicide bombers occupied a building within firing range of the German and British embassy in the diplomatic neighborhood of Wazir Akbar Khan; at least two occupied an empty building opposite the Parliament, and others either intentionally occupied or took refuge and then took up positions in an empty building on the Jalalabad road between a NATO base known as Camp Warehouse and the Kabul Military Training Center for the Afghan army.

They did not drive car bombs into areas packed with people, which would have resulted in far more casualties. However, a minibus full of explosives detonated outside the Parliament — there were reports both that police exploded it intentionally and that it was detonated by insurgents.

Reporting was contributed by Matthew Rosenberg and Jawad Sukhanyar from Kabul, and employees of The New York Times from Nangahar and Khost.




Bubbleteatroopa

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#2 7 years ago

Taliban scum. Go away you fundamentalist bastards, nobody wants you around. Get out of the 1300's for god sake.




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#3 7 years ago
Bubbleteatroopa;5633334Taliban scum. Go away you fundamentalist bastards, nobody wants you around. Get out of the 1300's for god sake.

lolwat

Pretty sure they never wanted us Westerners there either. It's hardly proper to be telling them to get out of their country regardless of the crimes they commit.

You tell them to get out of the 1300's, yet we Westerns are responsible for a lot more death than they are. Not sure what exactly you mean by 1300's, we're almost the exact same as they are.

I don't know why I found that really offensive considering the heinous acts the Taliban committed.




Flodgy

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#4 7 years ago

Perhaps it was the sheer ignorance of the statement that offended you? I have to admit my first reaction was simply 'lolwat' when I read it.

They have every right to be pissy and angry with Westerners, but do their methods justify what they want? Of course not. But when you're in a country that has known nothing but violence for centuries, and you're raised in the devastation of it all I can understand the difficulty that would be faced in looking to any other means.




Commissar MercZ

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#5 7 years ago

Flodgy;5633359Perhaps it was the sheer ignorance of the statement that offended you? I have to admit my first reaction was simply 'lolwat' when I read it.

They have every right to be pissy and angry with Westerners, but do their methods justify what they want? Of course not. But when you're in a country that has known nothing but violence for centuries, and you're raised in the devastation of it all I can understand the difficulty that would be faced in looking to any other means.

There's often a disconnect between trying to analyze why these things happen and condoning it. I think it's possible to do the former without the latter- it's the point of trying to understand things. Though often times people are accused of being supportive towards terrorists, enabling their actions, or not supporting the war effort.

The event here is notable because of the numbers the Taliban were able to muster, but at the same time if the ISAF's accounts are correct that this was largely dealt with by the Afghan forces themselves, it could at least indicate some improvement there. Still, it does not help in increasing confidence in the government's ability to maintain peace and order. Much like the PDPA government before them the current one has issues asserting itself beyond Kabul.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#6 7 years ago

The attack didn't seem to get very far. According to BBC 36 terrorists and 8 members of Afghani security forces died. If the Afghanis can sustain a 4-1 K/D ratio on their own things don't look so bad for them. The fact that terrorists managed to attack Kabul is a propganda victory in itself though.




Commissar MercZ

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#7 7 years ago

President Karzai has made statements on the raids. While crediting the Afghan security forces with their ability to successfully combat the raids, he blamed a lapse in intelligence from the Afghan forces and their NATO counterparts for letting the assault be carried out in the first place. As such he has ordered a probe to see if there was any shortfalls in the system.

Karzai wants 'intelligence failure' probed - Central & South Asia - Al Jazeera English

Karzai wants 'intelligence failure' probed President faults Afghan authorities and NATO over fierce Taliban assault on Kabul and other areas that lasted 18 hours. Last Modified: 16 Apr 2012 20:59

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has said intelligence failure allowed the Taliban to carry out the latest attacks in Kabul and elsewhere in the country.

"The terrorists' infiltration in Kabul and other provinces is an intelligence failure for us and especially for NATO and should be seriously investigated," Karzai said in a statement on Monday.

The president however, praised the "bravery and sacrifice of the security forces who quickly and timely reacted to contain the terrorists".

In his first reaction after the series of attacks targeting Western embassies and NATO bases, which continued till Monday morning, Karzai said that "Afghan security forces proved to the people that they can defend their country successfully".

Gun battles between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters in the capital, Kabul, ended after almost 18 hours of fierce fighting, according to government and police officials.

"The latest information we have about the Afghan parliament area is that the attack is over now and the only insurgent who was resisting has been killed," Hashmatullah Stanikzai, the Kabul police chief's spokesman, said on Monday. Click here to follow our Afghanistan Live Blog

There were conflicting reports regarding the number of casualties in the co-ordinated attacks that targeted mainly western installations in Kabul, which the Taliban described as the launch of a "spring offensive".

Afghanistan's defence ministry said 32 gunmen and three Afghan soldiers were killed in the operation against the multiple assaults, Reuters news agency reported.

But Bismillah Mohammadi, the Afghan interior minister, said 36 fighters, eight members of security forces and three civilians were killed and 44 others wounded in the gun battle, the AFP news agency reported.

Al Jazeera's Bernard Smith, reporting from Kabul, said: "They [Taliban] have been able to strike right in the heart of the city, supposedly the most well protected part of Afghanistan."

"There are now of course, serious questions about intelligence failings that allowed the Taliban to effectively lay siege of the city for almost 18 hours," he said.

'Peace efforts'

The Afghan capital awoke on Monday to a second day of explosions and heavy gunfire as a joint operation by Afghan and international forces worked to defeat the fighters holed up in one building in the heart of the city and another near the Afghan parliament.

Afghan-led forces fired one rocket-propelled grenade after another into a building in the centre of the city, where gunmen began the co-ordinated attacks on Sunday in the capital and three eastern cities.

Janan Mosazai, Afghan foreign ministry spokesman, said: "It is nearly impossible to stop all attacks by terrorists who continue to have sanctuaries and receive ideological, financial and logistical support outside Afghanistan."

"We will continue to fight the terrorists who pose a threat and danger to Afghanistan’s security and stability and its young democracy," he said.

"At the same time we will continue to pursue peace efforts with armed opposition groups, including the Taliban and other groups.

"And for that we are engaging not only leaders within the Taliban and other opposition groups, but also countries in the region, particularly the Islamic Republic of Pakistan."

'Spring offensive'

The attacks on Sunday, which targeted embassies, government buildings and NATO bases, underscored the security challenge facing Afghan security forces as their US and NATO allies plan to leave by the end of 2014.

These were the the worst attacks in the capital since the Taliban was overthrown 11 years ago.

General Martin Dempsey, US military's top officer, told reporters there had been intelligence reports that indicated a potential threat from Haqqani militants, who exploit sanctuaries in neighboring Pakistan.

But the reports of a possible attack were "vague about timing," Dempsey said.

The Pentagon has blamed the Haqqani network for the attack but Dempsey said it was unclear if the attack could be traced back to Haqqani havens in Pakistan.

"The threat, you know, the Haqqani network exists on both sides of the border, so so we're not prepared to suggest this emanated out of Pakistan," he said.

A Taliban spokesman said the violence marked the start of their annual spring offensive which heralded the fighting season, adding that "a lot of suicide bombers" were involved. From the perspective of one neighbourhood in Herat

It said the main targets were the German and British embassies, and the headquarters of Afghanistan's NATO-led force, all in Kabul.

Bombers struck across Afghanistan in co-ordinated attacks, with explosions and gunfire shaking the diplomatic area of Kabul as Taliban fighters took over nearby buildings and tried to enter parliament.

The assault appeared to repeat the tactics of an attack in Kabul last September when fighters entered construction sites in several places to use them as positions for rocket and gun attacks.

Some legislators grabbed weapons and started fighting when gunmen fired on the parliament building.

On Monday morning, Al Jazeera's Smith reported from Kabul that police had been seen removing bodies from the site of an assault on Taliban attackers who had been holed up in a construction site next to the Kabul Star hotel.

Afghan security forces, who are responsible for the safety of the capital, were scrambling to reinforce areas around the so-called "Green Zone" diplomatic section of the city centre.

The Pentagon believes the Haqqani Network was responsible for these raids, which is allied to the Taliban though a separate organization. Jalaluddin Haqqani, the leader of the group, was one of the warlords western intelligence services supported against the Soviet-backed PDPA government in the 1980s and 1990s and the Soviet forces themselves when they were occupying the country. Haqqani during the 1990s infighting switched allegiance to the Taliban who were being supported by the Pakistanis as a counterweight to Saudi and Iranian-backed warlords. Offered a position in the new government after the fall of the Taliban, Haqqani rejected them and disappeared, and later re-emerged as one of the major sources of the insurgency in the form of the so-called "Haqqani Network" which he runs with his son. The US accuses ISI in Pakistan of having connections to the group.