Tuesday evening, armed Taliban suicide bombers attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown
. The attack left 11 civilians dead and at least that many wounded. The Afghan government said that no foreigners were killed but some other reports suggest that Spanish, French and Turk victims may have been among the dead. Kabul
The 8 suicide bombers either blew themselves up during the attack or were killed in the hotel as the ensuing battle raged.
The Taliban were heavily armed and faced no resistance when they entered the hotel.
The suicide assault seemed perfectly times to coincide with President Obama’s announcement of the gradual withdrawal of American troops during the next year. In any event, it surely put to rest any idea that
is safe or that the recent allied sweeps have seriously damaged the Afghan Taliban’s capability to strike where and when they choose. And, since Kabul is one of the cities soon to be turned over to Afghan security control, the attack raises questions about the Afghan ability to secure its civilian urban populations from the threat of a Taliban assault. The Afghan national intelligence police has said it will not allow the Taliban to undermine its security takeover. Kabul
The Taliban spokesman stated that the goals of the assault were to kill as many people as possible during the provincial governors’ conference, to disrupt the transition to Afghan security control and to prove that foreign intelligence officers are not safe anywhere in
The Taliban estimate of casualties is 90.
The governors’ conference went on as planned, relocated to a government building.
The Taliban attack in
Kabul may be the beginning of the uncoupling of President Obama’s counterterrorism strategy from . His counterterrorism chief, John O. Brennan, gave a speech yesterday outlining the strategy. Afghanistan
Brennan said that President Obama’s counterterrorism strategy is focused on al-Qaida and its ability to strike at
, and is “…not designed to combat directly every single terrorist organization in every corner of the world.” Brennan specifically mentioned al-Qaida in America Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, North Africa and as targets of the strategy. Pakistan
The Afghan Taliban must be dancing in their villages tonight, realizing that they have just been given carte blanche to retake
, if they can wrest it from the Afghan government. Afghanistan appears to be interested in other world hotspots. America
This new Obama counterterrorism strategy is just about as unreal as
in Wonderland, and the President might have been well-served to heed Abraham Lincoln’s advice, "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." Alice