A Taliban suicide assault team attacked a hotel frequented by foreigners in the Afghan capital of Kabul. Initial reports indicate that 13 people and seven Taliban fighters may have been killed.
A heavily armed Taliban assault team, estimated at seven fighters strong, penetrated several rings of security at the Intercontinental and have entered the hotel. The assault team then fanned out in the hotel and searched for the guests, many of whom are foreigners. Many of the hotel guests were in the restaurant at the time of the attack.
Afghan security forces surrounded the hotel, cut off power, and engaged the remaining Taliban fighters. Three Taliban snipers opened fire on security forces using rocket-propelled grenades and a rifle from the rooftop. Coalition helicopters were called in to engage and kill the fighters on the rooftop. All seven Taliban fighters were killed after Afghan forces cleared the hotel.
The Taliban assault team killed 11 civilians, including one foreigner, a Spanish airline pilot, and two Afghan policemen. Two Special Air Services soldiers from New Zeeland who serve as mentors to Afghan forces were wounded during the operation to clear the building.
The Taliban, via their spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed credit for the attack in a statement released to the press.
“Our muj [mujahideen or fighters] entered the hotel and they’ve gone through several stories of the building and they are breaking into each room and they are targeting the 300 Afghans and foreigners who are staying,” Mujahid said, according to The New York Times.
The attack took place just one day before a conference discussing the handover of security to Afghan forces was to have taken place at a government center near the Intercontinental.
Today’s suicide attack was carried out by the Kabul Attack Network, which is made up of fighters from the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, and cooperates with terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and al Qaeda. Top Afghan intelligence officials have linked the Kabul Attack Network to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate as well. The network’s tentacles extend outward from Kabul into the surrounding provinces of Logar, Wardak, Nangarhar, Kapisa, Ghazni, and Zabul, a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal.
The Kabul Attack Network is led by Dawood (or Daud) and Taj Mir Jawad, military and intelligence officials told The Long War Journal. Dawood is the Taliban’s shadow governor for Kabul, while Taj Mir Jawad is a top commander in the Haqqani Network.
The Taliban have prioritized attacks against hotels in Kabul. In February, a suicide bomber detonated at the Safi Landmark. And in January 2008, a suicide assault team carried out an attack similar to today’s at the Serena Hotel. Foreigners were the targets of both strikes.
Today’s attack is the second major strike in Kabul this month. On June 18, a heavily armed three-man-strong suicide assault team dressed in military uniforms attacked a police station in the 1st district in Kabul, near the Finance Ministry. Nine people were killed in the attack.
The Taliban have carried out two other major suicide attacks in the capital since the beginning of April. On May 21, a suicide bomber detonated his vest at a hospital that is used to treat Afghan soldiers. Six people were killed in the blast. And on April 2, a suicide assault team attempted to storm Camp Phoenix, a NATO base. The suicide bombers were defeated by US troops guarding the perimeter.
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Thank you Bill for giving me somewhere to vent my feelings on these despicable acts.
Criminals, low lives and cowards is an accurate description of them.
Certainly not soldiers.
A 2:1 kill ratio is quite poor. We’ll have to see if the odds mount in their favor with more reports coming in.
“A 2:1 kill ratio is quite poor. We’ll have to see if the odds mount in their favor with more reports coming in.”
Indeed,it seems that with all due respect to the victims this attack was pretty half-assed.A ploy to get the attention of war weary Western journalists perhaps?Though let’s not hope our clever media realizes this fact if true.
As long as US is supportive of ISI which carried out the Mumbai Taj hotel attack, it has to face the consequences in other parts of the world including its own land as it happenned during 9/11. US never condemned the terrorist attacks happenning throughout world including India before 9/11.
Two New Zealand SAS troops injured in the counter operation. NZ SAS have been training Afghan SPEC-OPS troops for the past three years.
The “rings of security” were quite porous as the two road checkpoints were simply bypassed as the attackers crawled up the steep slopes of the wooded grounds surrounding the hotel.
Still, in all you have to say, given that the casualties here were about 1/10 of those at Mumbai, either the Afghans are getting a lot tougher, we’re helping a lot more, or both.
For starters, guard towers and a proper kill zone should be established. I’m rather incredulous that this had not already been done, but I don’t have all the information, so perhaps some kill-zone was provided.
Just a reminder of first principals. The basis of all defense is “obstacles covered by fire”. Somebody needs a refresher course.
I’d express my outrage, but really, aren’t we a little beyond that? Let’s just kill these vermin who inhabit human bodies and be done with it. There is no redemption for the damned, and especially, not the self-damned.
Civy, good comment.
There really is NO EXCUSE for allowing a hotel of this stature to be penetrated.
As for Pakistan’s/HAQ’s role in this, there should be payback with a jolly good pounding of hellfires into their camps. Plus a 100-million-dollar deduction from the next check.
I can’t believe i just said the latter. Shows how crazy it is to give them even a dollar.
Kill their nukes and be done with these scoundrels.
The Haqqani network is causing alot of problems for Afghanistan. Whats the word on a Pakistani military operation into North Warziristan? I remember reading an article a few weeks ago that Pakistan was getting ready to go into the area. We gotta find a way to take out the safe havens in NW. That will go a long way towards taking some pressure off Afghan security forces.
It keeps them in the news, but they really needed a much more bloody attack. This will largely be off the news pages by tomorrow.
The odd part is the recent attacks in Pakistan seem to be much bigger and bloodier than these Afghan attacks. I am not sure how easy/hard it is to ship large quantities of explosives around Afghanistan.
Civy’s last paragraph is really on to it. Trying to negotiate with these terrorists is like trying to negotiate with a Great White Shark or Wolf Pack that is attacking you. In their dimension it makes perfect rational sense to commit suicide in furtherance of Taliban/AQ goals, because of the enormously happy reward awaiting them. Increasingly the West has to come to realize that the War on Terror is a war in perpetuity. Asking when we can withdraw and end the War on Terror is becoming a query as naive as it would be for, say, the Mayor of a very large metropolitan police force to inquire of his Chief of Police as to when the City will be able to win the war on crime and, thus, eliminate the police department from the budget.
“Two Special Air Services soldiers from Australia who ……………”
These guys are ‘Kiwi’s.
I don’t know why in the world we would be negotiating with the same scumbags that send their sons packed with dynamite and nails against us to blow themselves up in the faces of infidels. And this is called a religion of peace. The Haqqani Network, run by Jalalludin Haqqani and Siraj Haqqani, have not been adequately attacked in drone strikes or in raids in my opinion. We need to send in the SEALS or the DELTA FORCE to negotiate as these are the only way these type of Islamist Salafis understand negotiation, as Mao Zedong said, through the barrel of a gun. Let’s destroy them and then make a deal.
Yup, Kiwis. NZ Spec Ops trainers who happened to be on scene. I wonder if this is one of the Kiwis who was injured:
“11 Civilians killed…” Well I guess this did not go well for the Taliban that were probably trying to kill just foreigners.
Did I read recently about some Taliban or Al-Quaeda commander getting assassinated in Pakistan. May be there is some in fighting or the people are starting to fight back.
Clearly they were hoping for a better kill ratio. The attack was fairly SOP. They could have brought in the Gunships before the Security forces deployed to clear or suppress the snipers from roofs.
I am surprised by the porous security rings in this hotel after the Mumbai attacks. If there is one thing that the ISI/Al Qaeda/Taliban axis have repeatedly shown is that they take the tactics that were first tested in India and apply it to other locations.
A Mumbai styled attack somewhere in the West is virtually a given because of the immense publicity that they achieved. You can bet that the plan to attack the Danish newspaper and behead the captives remains active somewhere within the ISI directorate, and it is just a matter of time before the leadership tries to implement it. If we aren’t keeping close tabs in the West on LeT and HUJI and all the other acronyms spun out by the ISI, then the fault lies entirely with us. As for our troops in Afghanistan, as Hitchens eloquently and with deep anger stated:
“Pakistan ingratiatingly and silkily invites young Americans to one of the vilest and most dangerous regions on earth, there to fight and die as its allies, all the while sharpening a blade for their backs.
I we destroyed or confiscated Pak nukes not only would we have a lot better options, but India would rest easy and likely be in Afghanistan in large numbers helping them rebuild. Afghanistan has so many resources India really needs, it would be a very mutually beneficial relationship.
We”ve proven we can penetrate the Pak air defenses, so why haven’t we destroyed their nukes? It’s not like they are going to retaliate by nuking NYC.
I am surprised that the Afghan Army Air Corps does not have an helicopter gunship near Kabul that could have engaged the terrorists gunmen on the roof of the hotel.
One element of the building of a strong security infrastructure in Afghanistan is that of fundamental literacy–Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. It took Sadaam Hussein about ten years of dictatorial fiat to force Iraqi’s to buy note books and learn to read.
The same has to be done in Afghanistan. Already,
Afghan army basic training requires learning how to read.Teachers of the civilian population need to be armed and money should be spent on traditional schools and online basic literacy education.
Don’t forget that there are 170 million pakistanis whose greatest military pride is their nuclear arsenal. Do you really think that all of those Pakistanis are going to sit idly by while U.S. special forces destroy their only means of protection from a billion Indians? The only way U.S./ISAF forces could legitimately garner control of those weapons is if the political situation in Pakistan became untenable for the internationally recognized government there. Also, what kind of precedent would that set for other nuclear power pariah states? Perhaps North Korea would feel the pressure and nuke Seoul. Also, what’s stopping the Indians from occupying contested frontier territories?
While I agree more needs to be done to disrupt AQ and other associated organizations, subtlety should be incorporated more than naked aggression. I’d like to quote John Paul Vann, notable for his involvement in the early days of the Vietnam War “This is a political war and it calls for discrimination in killing. The best weapon for killing would be a knife, but I’m afraid we can’t do it that way. The worst is an airplane. The next worst is artillery. Barring a knife, the best is a rifle
I seriously doubt that they were planning to achieve the killing of the umpteen hotel staff, because that’s all they seem to have achieved. Whilst these waiters and receptionists were de facto supporters of the incurrent Westerners, their actions aren’t going to achieve a glorious news story for the Taliban, are they? Big fail!
Civy, you dont have to worry about NYC but you certainly have to worry about Baghram. Best case scenario: we get the nukes and Pakistan is defanged. Worst case scenario: Thousands of American casualties. Its a high-stakes gamble that no politician would be willing to stomach. All it takes is one…
I couldn’t agree with you more. In the biggest picture i think its Pakistan’s nukes that are *the King* on the chessboard, not AQ, not the Taliban, not even the ISI.
So really, as you say, “why haven’t we destroyed their nukes?”
That is the trillion-dollar question. And whats depressing is that there isn’t even any real dialogue, at any meaningful international level, on this subject. A subject which legitimately concerns all 7 billion of us.
If those nukes were neutralised, that would take all the wind out of the Pakistani sails.
On retaliation, i agree, the only realistic reach is to India. Mad as they are, they could go berserk and attempt something there, although they would be pounded to radioactive sand if they did.
Here are a couple of interesting articles from the FP Journal and CTC Sentinel that are must reads by anyone concerned by the risks of nukes in Pakistan:
1. Most troubling paragraph of the week: Pak nukes are getting looser with time
2. Terrorist Tactics in Pakistan Threaten Nuclear Weapons Safety (this is the original article by Shaun Gregory who has monitored Pak’s security issues for years, nukes especially.)
It would really be interesting to have more people join in on this subject of paramount importance. What does everyone think? Why is this area seemingly being neglected on the international stage? Or is there a covert, but solid, plan to take some action?
A top Haqqani network commander who was very dangerous and vital in supporting this attack has been killed:
An HVT taken out.
They were NZ SAS, not Australian thanks. they are said to be the best special forces in the world. GO THE ALL BLACKS
Destruction of nukes is not solution, this can be expected from an indian not american. Be sure indian presence in Afghanistan is not for the development but they use Afghan soil to destabalize Pakistan. This is fact that most taliban groups are funded by india, so in fact they are harming american cause.
By destructing Pak nukes anti american lobby will get streangth and it is proved that one nuisance produce another one in worse shape. American must remember that afghan war against USSR produced AQ who delivered lot of offsprings like a fertile mother. Now your such behaviour will produce another fertile mother to deliver lot of bad babies. Don’t listen to indian, a hindu bhania always think for his own benefit.
Civy . . . On this one I must disagree with you. We do not know where all Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are located. They are dispersed and many of them are mobile. If I were in charge of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, I’d place many of them in miscellaneous basements throughout major cities like Karachi. Hide in plain sight; that’s the ticket.
The best way of handling Pakistan’s nukes is to cut off funding to Pakistan and issuing a John F. Kennedy-like warning to Pakistan that any nuclear or dirty bomb attack on the U.S. will be deemed to have originated in Pakistan. JFK did this with Cuba/USSR during the October 1962 missile crisis and it worked.
Finally, don’t kid yourself about Nuking NYC or anywhere else in the U.S. We are always caught with our pants down. We’ve got to know our own history, if we are to continue to have a history.
Spoke like a true Pakistani. Blame everyone for your problems.
Never have I seen so many misguided citizens as Pakistan has. Truly weird!.
“This is fact that most taliban groups are funded by india, so in fact they are harming american cause.” And I knew some of these facts…
Next you will say it’s a fact that Kabul is part of Pakistan?
Did the possession of a lot more nukes and the means to deliver them around the world keep the Soviet Union from disintegrating? Pakistan’s nukes keep India from retaliating to their insane brinkmanship. But it won’t keep the rogue state from withering from within.
Maintaining a nuclear arsenal is expensive business, and an arsenal the size of France’s or GB’s is not something that a bankrupt Pakistan can hope to maintain without considerable assistance from the US and Saudi Arabia, and/or re-starting the AQ Khan Nukes’R’Us. But even if this financial support is forthcoming, they will be hard pressed to fight the Pashtun insurgency with conventional weapons and an increasingly radicalized army that sympathizes with the insurgent cause.
Pakistan is banking on the West’s fears of its nukes falling into jihadists hands (although the distinction between the jihadists in the Pakistan army and the jihadists outside is based more on faith than on reality) to keep their state from failing. But at some point the whole house of cards will fall and the results will become even more disastrous because of the nuclear spree that Pakistan is currently embarking on with our money. It is just like paying the North Koreans not to build nukes, and that worked out pretty nicely! Clearly there is a strong streak of insanity associated with our foreign policy.
More cowardly acts with a defeatist mentality, lol, bye has-beens.
But if we destroy their nukes, won’t they just build more? We have to contain Pakistan, a la George Kennan, and wait for it to crack.
“Don’t forget that there are 170 million pakistanis whose greatest military pride is their nuclear arsenal. Do you really think that all of those Pakistanis are going to sit idly by while U.S. special forces destroy their only means of protection from a billion Indians?”
V: Connor, all those Pakistanis sat idly by while UBL was taken out. What is required here is sharp intelligence. I hope that Obama has a dedicated team reporting up to him that is (a) assembling every piece of the puzzle to put together as credible a picture as possible, (b) examining absolutely every possible option to take them out when the opportunity presents itself, and (c) coordinating with the Indians to tap synergy in this precarious situation.
In case you haven’t noticed, the billion Indians you refer to are not marauders. There is not a shred of evidence in the international arena that the Indians are an exemplary example of responsible behaviour, including atomically, and a conspicuously successful example of a multi-ethnic/cultural democracy of a massive size. If you’ve travelled to India recently, you would have a realistic sense of their populace’s priorities–money, money, money and that’s not from a begging bowl.
C: “Also, what’s stopping the Indians from occupying contested frontier territories?’
V: Again, with respect, as the saying goes, it’s the economy stupid! The Indians are not in an adventurous, expansionist mode. In fact even Kashmir is all political posturing. The Indians would happily settle the dispute at the Line of Control today if they were assured that the PakMi-Gov, including their un-uniformed band of terrorists, would lay off India.
C:The only way U.S./ISAF forces could legitimately garner control of those weapons is if the political situation in Pakistan became untenable for the internationally recognized government there.
V: This is not an ISAF mandate. In fact, this is the time for the UN to be talking about the present and imminent danger that Pak’s nukes present to *THE WHOLE WORLD*. It’s obvious, isn’t it that the situation in Pakistan has *RADICALLY* changed since they acquired their first weapons, with extraordinary help from the Chinese.
Pakistan may have an ‘internationally recognised govt’ but it is also one of the most internationally despised, taken together with their Army.
Economically, they are one of the most internationally incompetent. Militarily, they are an international terror machine. And socially, they have become the most internationally violent society–the numbers killed oft cited by the Pak’s speak for themselves.
The present status quo in Pakistan is simply untenable. Personally, imho, it is irretrievably so. Which is why the international community needs to get out of its complacency, and act. Act at every possible level, ‘diplomatic’ and military.
The Pak nuclear threat, if it even exists at a credible level, is vastly overstated. It’s time the US stops negotiating with itself, and starts contemplating the hitherto unthinkable – that Pakistan’s nuclear threat can be neutralized – and get on with planning that out.
Like Bush and his rainbow of colored alerts, the Pak Military Establishment has seductively portrayed nuclear arms as a proxy for manliness to a nation steeped in inferiority.
Only when the Pak Military has no such mesmerizing toy to distract the people of its country with will they see their situation for what it is. They live in squalor in a failed state, and are being left further behind each year as the West and the rest of Asia leaps ahead.
We have a huge nuclear arsenal. It can be parked offshore of Pakistan and turn every city in the country into a smoldering cinder. That is a credible threat.
What is not a credible threat is a Pak Military, perhaps with some crippled nuclear capability, being able to threaten in any serious way the US military. It can’t even do a credible job of rooting the Taliban out of S Waziristan. In a stand-up conventional fight the Pak Military would be annihilated in a few days.
The millions of Pak civilians aren”t going to care and we aren”t going to stop and take opinion polls. Whatever the public perception is after the fact, in the Pak political system, it doesn’t matter.
The generals are running the country, and once defanged, and accountable to a population no longer deluding itself that it has options or a position of importance in the world, they will have neither the means nor the support for retaliation.
There is a civil middle-class in Pakistan who is very weary of this cabal of self-serving generals who live well at the expense of everyone else, and arrange for perpetual war so they can continue to enjoy power, wealth and position.
The true way forward for Pakistan, if it doesn’t want to get left behind in the 8th Century, is the path that Germany, Japan, the Asian Tigers and Israel have taken. Namely, education, hard work, good governance, and eventually, economic power and earned respect.
The general’s path of perpetual war is a road to ruin – the kind of well-bounced rubble ruin we see in Afghanistan. The way to unmask these demons and revel them for what they are, is to take away their big, shiny distraction. Pretty basic Wizard of Oz stuff.
If we haven’t been planning this, then we need to get past our unexamined, unevaluated, and unquantified fear, and do so. Let the generals beg in the streets.
Zarin, please stop crying. We are well past the rock-bottom hit of Raymond Davis. The times they are a changin.
(Inspiration: Bob Dylan)
And about the chip-on-your-shoulder about India, grow up. The elephant is marching forth confidently, while you guys are left to be little frogs swimming in your boiling dirty waters, slowly to your death. You have your own incompetent Kayani, Pasha & Co. to blame. I would add Zardari to that list, but i’ll give the devil his due and, because his hands are tied, the benefit of the doubt.
Like Raven said stop blaming everyone but yourself. You guys have built such a rotten society for yourself. If i were you, i’d be out on the streets marching against your Army’s manipulative policies.
You sure find yourself doing that for stupid little cartoon competitions, and so on, on Facebook don’t you? Face yourselves and grow up–you’re a shameful place on Planet Earth, despite the fact that a lot of your country is very beautiful. Even Osama bin Laden thought that. Crappy house, zero aesthetics, personal jail, but nice countryside. That’s you.
Civy, what do you mean about the Asian Tigers? The Asian Tigers are a radical Islamist group in NWA that has kidnapped and killed countless hostages before.
Please be very very specific in what you are referring to.
Connor, just to insert one key word in the following sentence from my earlier post:
“In case you haven’t noticed, the billion Indians you refer to are not marauders. There is not a shred of evidence in the international arena that the Indians are (not) an exemplary example of responsible behaviour, including atomically, and a conspicuously successful example of a multi-ethnic/cultural democracy of a massive size. If you’ve travelled to India recently, you would have a realistic sense of their populace’s priorities–money, money, money and that’s not from a begging bowl.”
Thank you for your patience.
Your comment is comforting in an obscure kind of way. If we are talking about it, hopefully the powers that be are doing something about it.
At any rate, its the first time i’ve engaged someone in a meaningful conversation here at LWJ on the subject of nukes! For some reason, people have shied away to get up, close and personal about the subject. I hope they don’t do that at the White House.
In fact, i’d encourage all those war-weary Americans to stand-up and equally voice their opinions about Pakistan’s nukes, if they want their Govt to do something about it.
Thanks for your contribution and see you around.
Asian Tigers is an economic term for NICs such as S Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong until absorbed, and Singapore.
Your view is of True Indian. The problem is that no one listen to ground realities. You are creating another worse dissension by threatning Pakistan instead of support.
Be sure we will never claim Kabul but indian lobby in Afghanistan is supporting among youth old Afghan ideologythat till Indus river is greater Afghanistan.
Connor, the problem with Pakistan is not that it contains terrorists, it’s that it is an entirely terrorist state.
Conducting anti-terrorist operations to excise the cancer misses the obvious fact that the entire state is one big tumor.
Not only does the state sponsor terrorism, at least on the scale of Iran, but it has invited and harbored terrorists from all over the world to come make a home inside its borders so its generals can continue to milk the resulting perpetual war for the bounty America has made it for them.
Cutting off funding to Pakistan will accomplish nothing useful. That act will be twisted into something very anti-American so the generals can continue with their extortion. The only way to end an extortion is to neutralized the extortionist/s. We’re the world’s sole surviving super-power. It’s our place to end such outrageous behavior.
And where is Pakistan’s Arab spring? Where are those discontented millions marching to protest the giant FAIL that is Pakistan?
It lies dormant in an ignorant, fearful, misogynistic society emasculated by poverty and incompetence, seeking psychological salvation in the Big Stick.
When the stick turns out to be tiny, the scales will fall from the eye of millions, and the task of reorganizing their society to be worthy of world participation will be seen by the citizens of Pakistan with the alarm, and urgency it demands.
The stupidity of the American position is we seem to have an endless appetite to buy the one thing they have an endless supply of – failure.
Ravan indeed! LOL!!! Either you have a great sense of humor or you are only semi-educated, which is the root of Pak’s problem. Look at the content of your education. Don’t expect mangos on a lemon tree.
For those interested in Ravan, google it at wiki. Impressive picture here though
About the terroritory to the Indus, thats just Phase I btw. Phase II is to break it up between the manageable and the smashable. Choose your move carefully. The game’s on.
FYI. I am an American and my handle is not “Ravan”. It is Raven as in “Raven the Crow”.
I was pointing to your national obsession regarding India where as the whole world is worried about your terrorists/Army, nukes and misguided population.
Well… you can take the horse to water but can’t make it drink. We, in this forum, have mentioned ways to improve your nation but I guess, you are not ready.
Bill, thanks for ferreting out this *must-read* article.
We’ve all said this here, but when it comes from Gen Keane (retd or not), thats something else.
“The truth is, the ISI aids and abets the sanctuaries in Pakistan that the Afghan operate out of. They provide training for them, they provide resources for them and they provide intelligence for them. From those sanctuaries, every single day Afghan fighters come into Afghanistan and kill and maim us,” Keane, said at a discussion on Afghanistan organized by the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think-tank.
“There’s a direct relationship of ISI’s complicity and the deaths of American soldiers and the catastrophic wounding of those soldiers. The chief of staff of the Pakistani military is complicit. He used to be the director of ISI. He put the guy in there who is in charge now and he has full knowledge of what I’m just describing,” Keane alleged.
Kayani has US blood on his hands. Mr President, when did you say you’re going to visit Pakistan in order to shake his hands?
From IED’s in Afghanistan to AQ’s shelter in Pakistan, is all about their nukes. Whenever one tries to solve this puzzle, thats what it comes down to. Pakistan’s nukes. They have to be taken out of their hands by hook or by crook, thats so obvious.
Great quotes, I wish more people were saying what needed to be said about Pakistan. When I see recently what I believe was one the worst weeks for american Military deaths for many years and the brazen complicity of pakistan in these deaths it makes me sick.