Sunday, March 10, 2013

Taliban cancels Hagel, Karzai press conference

President Obama asserted in May of 2012 that the Taliban's momentum in Afghanistan had been broken, contradicting an assessment made at the time by the heads of House and Senate Intelligence committees, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Mike Rogers, who, upon returning from a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan, stated that the Taliban were even stronger than they had been before the President announced his 30,000-troop surge to Afghanistan in December of 2009 [while simultaneously announcing - and telegraphing - to the Taliban - his timetable for withdrawal]. The President's assertion about the Taliban's broken momentum also ran contrary to media reports which noted an increase in violence across the country.

U.S. officials said Sunday that a joint press conference with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, scheduled for Sunday afternoon at the presidential palace in Kabul, had been cancelled because of a security threat - although the two men still planned to meet later in the day.

The cancellation came a day after a suicide bomber killed nine people outside the Afghan Defense Ministry in central Kabul; the Taliban took credit for the bombing.

Hagel, who was reportedly in a safe location meeting with Afghan officials at the time of the explosion, later told reporters he heard the explosion from afar but wasn't sure what it was.

Nevertheless, U.S. officials refused to provide details on the security concerns that led to the cancellation of Sunday's joint press conference [and perhaps there might have been other reasons that led to the cancellation]. However, the attack on the Afghan Defense Ministry was likely the cause for those security concerns. Which leads me to believe that Obama's assertion about the Taliban is spot-on! For ultimately the Taliban's ability to bring about the cancellation of the Hagel/Karzai press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul can only mean one thing: "We broke the Taliban's momentum!"

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