Taliban launch suicide assault on Presidential palace, CIA HQ in Kabul

The Taliban claimed credit for a complex suicide assault that targeted the Presidential palace in Kabul just hours before President Hamid Karzai was to address reporters today. The CIA headquarters at the Ariana Hotel was also said to have been targeted in the attack.

The attack began early in the morning as Taliban fighters penetrated security at a high-security gate said to be used by only the most senior Afghan government officials, The New York Times reported. Kabul’s chief of police claimed that a guard at the gate spotted a fake ID card, and then the Taliban suicide assault team exited the vehicle and opened fire. But unnamed security officials told the Times that two vehicles were able to bypass security at the gate.

Afghan and US security forces battled the Taliban fighters for nearly two hours before the assault was defeated. Five Taliban fighters and two Afghan guards were killed during the firefight, according to Reuters. More than 15 explosions were heard in the capital during the fighting, according to Khaama Press.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed the main target of the attack was the CIA station at the Ariana Hotel. The CIA station has come under attack one other time in the past two years. On Sept. 25, 2011, an Afghan guard who is thought to have been a Taliban infiltrator opened fire at the hotel, killing an American, two Afghan soldiers, a presidential guard, and a CIA security guard.

Today’s attack in Kabul is the second of its kind in the capital in two weeks. On June 11, a suicide bomber detonated outside of Afghanistan’s Supreme Court, killing at least 16 civilians, including many who worked at the complex.

The attack in Kabul takes place as the international community is seeking a negotiated settlement with the Taliban after the group set up a “political office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” in Doha, Qatar. The Taliban have employed the office as a de facto embassy, raising the Taliban flag and using the name Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which is what the Taliban used when they ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, and still use to this day.

The Taliban have said they would step up attacks against “foreign invaders,” or Coalition personnel operating under the command of the International Security Assistance Force, workers from non-governmental organizations operating in Afghanistan, and “officials and workers of the stooge Karzai regime.” The Taliban stressed that suicide and insider attacks would be used, and warned Afghans to “stay away from the bases of the invaders, their residential areas or working for them in order to avoid civilian losses.” [See LWJ report, Taliban promise suicide assaults, ‘insider attacks’ in this year’s spring offensive.]

Over the past month, the Taliban and their allies, including the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, have stepped up suicide operations against the Coalition, NGOs, and Afghan institutions. There have been 10 high-profile suicide attacks, including the attack today in Kabul, since May 23.

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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  • This only shows the impotency of present administration’s policy in Afghanistan.

  • mike merlo says:

    another “yawner”

  • marc says:

    another reason to get out if there were not enough already – suicide attacks from arabs who care nothing for others. We cannot reason with insane people, the US and other foreign allies needs to be get out and let them kill and savage themselves -they’ve been doing this for thousands of years and know one is going to change that.

  • Jay says:

    and the previous administration had a policy?

  • donowen says:

    Strike any facility the Taliban has in Qatar, Pakistan etc. Total war was required to defeat the Nazis/ Japanese. The Taliban certainly are as dedicated to their cause as the others-they simply do not have the numbers or technology. Destroy all food sources, money sources, etc. These folks will not be defeated by any other method except annihilation. They are intent on the total elimination of their own countrymen and women who deviated from their absurd cult. We have the means to do it to them-at this time they do not have the means to do it to us. The 2014 elections will give the House and Senate to the Republicans. The Afgans must hold out until those elections. 2016 will result in a government that will address radical Islam in the fashion required.

  • KaneKaizer says:

    The previous administration is not the current administration, Jay. Stop playing politics.
    BO should have listened to David Petraeus.

  • Will Fenwick says:

    donowen, the tactics you describe were pretty much standard doctrine for us forces fighting insurgencies up to the 1930’s. Nearly every insurgency against US forces was defeated up till then. The other factor is time, the American public doesn’t seem to have the stomach for fighting 10 year plus insurgencies, despite the fact that prior to world war two we would regularly engage in such conflicts and win.

  • Bill S. says:

    Recent Taliban attacks have been high profile camera-op dead ends that seem more intent on getting on the news that achieving military objectives. This is more of the same.
    The Taliban can not launch a Tet type offensive that would give them real weight at the negotiating table. Instead of this they are counting on their psychological effect on Western Powers that they have mistakenly analyzed as war weary.
    With a withdrawal already announced, all that these attacks will do is assure that as strong a force as possible is left behind to bolster Afghan National Forces.

  • JT says:

    Jay –
    A policy of remaining until the country can govern itself and defend itself against AQ, Taliban, and similar groups was the policy of the previous administration.
    The current administration chooses to pull out with arbitrary timelines for apparent popularity reasons.
    That is a substantial difference.

  • BobbyD says:

    Holy crap Marc. I guess you didn’t read the article. The ANSF security did its job and protected civilians from being killed. All 8 insurgents are dead. What’s the problem?

  • blert says:

    BTW, if you were too young, it was easy to miss W’s Afghanistan campaign against AQ. It all went too quickly.
    Where W went off the rails was when he tried to modernize islamic lands. Grover Norquist (+ some imams) snowed him with a “religion of peace” shtick w a a a y back in 2001.
    Norquist was and is an ‘institutional’ Republican of good standing – -married to a muslim.
    This is but another instance wherein an American is conned by the good graces of a muslim they know very, very, well into presuming that they are getting the straight truth about islam.
    This gambit is, and has been, running wild all over Washington — in both parties — for generations.
    Hence, there is no policy relief when the electorate changes the party in office — as you may, hopefully, begin to perceive.


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram