Taliban launch complex attack on US embassy in Kabul

Coalition soldiers inside ISAF Headquarters battle Taliban fighters as they attack the US Embassy compound and ISAF Headquarters in Kabul. Video from NATO.

The Taliban launched a complex daylight attack on the US embassy and NATO headquarters in a secured area of Kabul this afternoon. While suicide bombers targeted the Kabul civil order police station and another police station a few kilometers away, fighters armed with rifles and RPGs fired at the embassy and NATO headquarters. Another suicide bomber was killed on a road near the airport.

The International Security Assistance Force confirmed that a small group of Taliban fighters is “firing from outside the compound using small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.” The Taliban fighters occupied an office building currently under construction near the embassy and ISAF headquarters to fire at the heavily fortified compounds.

The NATO military command stated that “there are no reports of ISAF casualties at this time” and forces were working with Afghan police and soldiers to battle the Taliban fighters.

“Afghan police are fighting at office building and are working to clear the building,” Sediq Sediqqi, the spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, said on his Twitter page.

“Two of the terrorists have been killed by police, two or three are still inside the building, clearance ops is on. One police killed so far,” Sediqqi wrote. “MoI helicopters are patrolling over the building” to provide air support for the police in contact.

Elsewhere in the capital, one Taliban suicide bomber attacked a building belonging to the city’s civil order police, while another bomber detonated at a regional police station near a high school. A policeman was killed in the blast at the entrance to the police station, and two civilians were wounded in the blast outside the high school.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed credit for the attack, in a statement released at Voice of Jihad, the Taliban’s propaganda website.

“Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate attacked the NATO’s ISAF HQ, US embassy and local and foreign intelligence agencies, storming the facilities with rockets, hand grenades, explosives vests and heavy and small arms triggering a bloody fighting and targeting the strategic points in the heart of Kabul city,” he said.

Mujahid also claimed that “the city is in turmoil and the people are running about in terror and shock.”

The Taliban have conducted several high-profile attacks in the Afghan capital this year. On Aug. 18, a suicide assault team killed eight people at the office of the British Council. On June 28, a suicide assault team stormed the Intercontinental Hotel and killed 13 people. On June 18, a suicide assault team attacked a police station near the Interior Ministry, killing eight people. On May 21, a suicide bomber killed six people in a hospital. On April 28, a suicide bomber penetrated security at the Ministry of Defense, killing two soldiers and wounding several senior officials. On February 24, a suicide bomber detonated outside of the Safi Landmark hotel, killing two people. And on January 28, a suicide assault team killed eight people at the Finest grocery.

Today’s suicide attack, like the others in Kabul, was likely 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 recently 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. In the US military files recently released by WikiLeaks, Taj Mir Jawad is identified as a top Haqqani Network leader.


Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Soccer says:

    “the city is in turmoil and the people are running about in terror and shock.”
    Surprise surprise… the Taliban are terrorists.
    Who would have ever thought such a thing??!!??

  • ArneFufkin says:

    Mujahid also claimed that “the city is in turmoil and the people are running about in terror and shock.”
    A couple of soon-to-be-martyred Taliban deadbeats holed up in a building under construction does not a city in turmoil make.

  • Gerald says:

    Looks like a poor version of the TET offensive.

  • stevied4 says:

    This reminds me of a very poor TET offensive approach but with the same attempt of having our media crying out the end is near and Wolf Blitzer decrying all is lost ! Rolling eyes !!

  • Charu says:

    The Taliban Tet offensive?

  • SomeGuy says:

    MAC’s did a great job of reacting. They used cover, speed and communication…but most important, they kept their gear on.
    I’m not going to talk about the others displayed here, except to say muzzle awareness!
    I’ve worked with the MAC’s before and they are awesome, they are limited by their countries issued equipment, but solid Soldiers.

  • Graham says:

    I notice that the U.S soldiers defending the compound are dressed in Marpat and Multicam (Army) and DCU (Marines). But who are the soldiers with the beige fatigues and the AK-47’s? We don’t use those..

  • SomeGuy says:

    Those are the Macedonians…or MAC’s (Macedonian Army Contingent)

  • YZ says:

    Another militarily insignificant operation by the Taliban designed to grab headlines and TV airtime.

  • dr burke says:

    Well at least now we know their future modus
    operandi, go for the new, unguarded high ground to
    shoot down on people. Take along a parachute.

  • wondook says:

    just to amend the locations of the two other attacks: The civil order police is opposite the high school in Deh Mazang are, so we’re talking of the same location. As to terror in the street: This operation followed earlier examples first demonstrated in the 27 April 2008 attack on the parade grounds (small team of attacker holed up in high ground building), repeated since then several times, most notably in August 2009 in Police District 9 and police District 1 of Kabul on the day prior and on Election Day itself (19/20 August), and then again on 18 January 2010 in the attack using the central department store (furushgah) as an attack base in Police District 2. There was an aborted attack of the same type on Kabul on 20 September (Parliamentary Election Day) 2010. Latest use of this tactic was the mentioned attack on the Intercontinental Hotel on 28 June. Key to the perception of mayhem is the disproportionate use of firepower by the reacting security forces. Two three shot bursts were regularly met with a two to three minute response – which also created a lot of collateral damage by stray bulltes. Given the regular occurrence of the same tactic, people in Kabul think that they are quite safe far away from the high rises – and yesterday actually also had a normal day in those neighbourhoods.

  • Barry Larking says:

    One feature of the reproting I noted was the appearence of Kabul. It seems only recently the city was in ruin. What I saw yesterday was something to behold. Also clearly shown on the television footage I saw were unaccompanied Afghans fighting hard and well. Something to bear in mind. These people have now something both to fight for and to loose. That is different.
    The media (B.B.C. leading) love to pour doubt all over the Afghanistan operation. By my count nine trained (where?) Taliban were killed for the gain of a few headlines. Over this side of the pond these are termed “tomorrow’s chip papers” (wrappings once upon a time used to carry out the national dish fish and chips). More victories like that and the Taliban will be running seriously short of martyrdom material.
    No one is making the connection between these desperate and increasingly off target spasms and the impact of covert operations against the Taliban’s back areas. I believe these are linked.
    All this is by way of urging politicians not to pull out now. This process is having a positive outcome due to the sacrifices that have been made by thousands of wonderful service people.

  • Mike says:

    If the Taliban are attacking NATO bases and the US embassy, then they are not attacking Afghan civilians.
    Let’s build a few more high rise buildings around our bases. Draw these bastards out.

  • Chris says:

    @Barry Larking

  • Al Quaeda very clearly said that it recruits from People who are ready to die for Allah and also have earlier Military training. What it means is that persons retiring from Pakistan,Afghanistan or any other Army are the potential recruits.
    So it is USA which provides training money for these Talibs. CIA should watch closely how the retireees are being settled and by whom and where. I heard some are being selcted for working in Bahrain national guard. CIA seems to select some personnel in Mazar e sherief for Libyan operation. Talibs must be recruiting through their own sources.
    What I find rather intruguing is the amount of ammunition which these guys could get into the top of the new building.This could not be done without help from the contractor of that building.

  • F says:

    Comparing this to Tet is like comparing Wanat with Khe Sanh. It was a single attack in a single city with a limited objective. It’s a bit of a temporary propaganda coup, but that’s it. When sustained multi-day attacks happen simultaneously in Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Mazer, Jalalabad etc, then it will be time to break out the Tet comparison.

  • Ben says:

    The Afghanistan misadventure has not changed the world; it has distorted and defaced the civil and human face of the world. Taliban

  • Cr4sh Dummy says:

    The Taliban attacked with the intention of gaining a giant propaganda coup. I think they failed for the most part, but this definitely affects the psyche of the populace.
    I know the attackers were all wiped out. And we continue to pound the Taliban, Haqqani network and Al Qaeda with surgical predator strikes and Special ops raids, which has taken an immense toll on the them.
    However, when they launch operations like this, I believe it’s advantageous to the Taliban. Yes they were all killed, and we had Gen Allen visit the area after the assault. But the point is that they were able to even manage to launch this assault in the first place. This isn’t comparable to Tet, but as the article pointed out, this is a growing trend by the Taliban, which will undoubtedly affected the psyche of the Afghans.

  • Neonmeat says:

    The media flaunt this as proving ‘the Taliban can attack anywhere at anytime’.
    However this can happen in any country where guns are legal some maniac can buy an assault rifle or something and go on a shooting spree in the capital, they can disrupt business and take up hours and hours of Police time and also often kill many innocents, just look at Anders Brevik.
    Really this just shows that against the might of ISAF and the ANA the Taliban are a measly fighting force. They came into the city and set off suicide bombs, they inflicted no deaths in the ensuing gun battle and just managed to put a some bullet holes in the Embassies compound walls which are built to withstand a lot more.
    They were routed and destroyed in a professional and calculated manner by superior forces without gaining anything except the propaganda coup gifted to them by the Western media.


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