When the BBC reported yesterday that “Afghan and international security forces have been battling a multi-pronged attack by insurgents targeting the US embassy, Nato headquarters and police buildings in Kabul,” I became worried that the Taliban and opposition forces were becoming stronger and emboldened. The attacked seemed well planned and organized: the attackers arrived in burkas so they wouldn’t be searched, and were armed with “rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), heavy machine guns and hand grenades, as well as biscuits and energy drinks,” as if expecting a long firefight.
But how bad was it? According to the New York Times:
The American ambassador, Ryan C. Crocker, played down the attack as “harassment” that had made for a hard day at the embassy but was not a game-changer.
“This really is not a very big deal,” Mr. Crocker said. “If that’s the best they can do, you know, I think it’s actually a statement of their weakness.”
The initial reports state that the attackers are believed to be part of the Haqqani Network, a Pakistani group affiliated with the Taliban. If this is so, it is further evidence that Pakistan is far more important strategically than Afghanistan, or at least that the stability of Afghanistan is dependent on the stability of Pakistan. “Mr. Crocker indicated that such attacks were likely to continue because the insurgency had strong support in Pakistan.”
NATO posted two videos of the firefight on Youtube.
The second video is here.
Simon Gass, the senior civilian NATO representative in AF, also offered, in the same NYT article linked, what must be the worst metaphor I’ve read in a while:
“Afghanistan is a little like a boxer,” said Simon Gass, the senior civilian NATO representative in Afghanistan. “It is going to take some blows along the way, but it will keep coming forward, and it will prevail over its enemy.”