Tuesday, September 13, 2011

US embassy attack makes peace talks with Taliban seem "absurd", says Western Official

From the New York Times:
Heavily armed insurgents wearing suicide vests put the [US] embassy in [Kabul, Afghanistan] and the nearby NATO headquarters in their cross hairs, showing the Taliban’s ability to enter even the most heavily fortified districts in the country.

The nearly five-hour siege was one of several attacks that hit the capital on Tuesday afternoon. American civilians fled to their bunkers — a rocket penetrated the embassy compound — and Afghan government offices and the capital’s center emptied as the insurgents fired rocket-propelled grenades and NATO and Afghan troops returned fire.

The attacks confirmed the ability of the Taliban, with a small number of men, to use guerrilla tactics to terrify the population, dominate the media and overshadow the West’s assertions that the Afghan government and security forces will soon be able to handle the insurgency on their own. ...

The assault... was all the more dismaying because it suggested the involvement of many people who allowed heavily armed men to enter the city and get through the cordon that surrounds the capital’s center...

Tuesday’s attack, which began around 1:15 p.m., was the latest in a string of attacks that have chipped away at a tenuous sense of security in the capital...

“The nature and scale of today’s attack clearly proves that the terrorists received assistance and guidance from some security officials within the government who are their sympathizers,” said Mohammed Naim Hamidzai Lalai, chairman of Parliament’s Internal Security Committee.

“Otherwise it would be impossible for the planners and masterminds of the attack to stage such a sophisticated and complex attack, in this extremely well-guarded location, without the complicity from insiders.”

A Western official said the attack made the talk of a peace deal with Taliban seem “absurd.” [Absurd???]

“This doesn’t show reconciliation
, it does show determination,” the official said. “If the Taliban can do this with five guys perched in a building and they can alternate it with these vehicle-borne I.E.D.'s” — car bombs — “which they have been doing more of, well, then this won’t be the last time.”
Meanwhile, the Obama administration declared that it wouldn't allow Tuesday's attack to deter the American mission in Afghanistan, the AP reported. In other words, the White House won't allow the violence in Afgahnistan to deter peace negotiations with the perpetrators of the violence.

Pentagon press secretary George Little, a Leon Panetta appointee, said the attack would not alter US and NATO plans to gradually hand over control to Afghan security forces, which he said were increasingly capable, the AFP reported.

"There's absolutely no change in our commitment to transition," said Little.