|Asia News Digest
U.S. Embassy and NATO Headquarters in Kabul Under Attack
Sept. 13 (EIRNS)Insurgents identifying themselves as the Taliban launched a suicidal attack inside the highly fortified diplomatic conclave in Kabul that houses the U.S. Embassy and NATO, among other embassies and major government offices today.
According to Afghan National Army General Ayub, "The attackers were wearing burkas. They were traveling in a minivan. We don't have female police officers to search females." Following the explosion, a squad of about five insurgents took over a shopping center under construction on the outskirts of Kabul's diplomatic district, armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers, AK-47s, and suicide vests, and moved into the upper floors of a 13-story unfinished building. Explosions were interspersed with gunfire all afternoon, and several rockets landed in the Wazir Akbar Khan district, near the British and other embassies. One hit a school bus, which appeared to have been empty at the time.
The attack on the U.S. Embassy was synchronized with two other attacks and one failed attack in the city. In west Kabul, within a few minutes after the main assault launched on the U.S. Embassy and the NATO HQ, a suicide bomber attacked a Border Police post, and another suicide bomber attacked the 202 Shamsad Regiment's office, causing casualties. The fourth attack was planned for the airport, but the suicide bomber was killed before he could detonate the belt bomb inside the airport. Iranian Press TV said its office in Kabul had been attacked and one person injured.
This incident is one of the rare occasions that militants have demonstrated the capability to get extremely close to the heart of the Western military and intelligence presence in the Afghan capital. The ability to get numerous operatives armed with explosives and heavy guns into this area, could not have been possible without aid from Afghan security personnel posted in high-security areas. "The scale of today's attack is unprecedented," Andrew Exum, fellow at the Center for a New American Security, told Reuters.
U.S. Administration officials have attempted to downplay this incident, saying that groups, other than the Taliban, are carrying out the violence. But the reality is that neo-Salafi groups, armed and supported by the global reach of the British-Saudi fundamentalist apparatus, are proliferating in Southwest Asia and the Muslim world, from al-Qaeda in the Sinai in Egypt, to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, particularly in Yemen, to al-Qaeda in the Magreb, which includes elements of the Libyan "rebels" being backed by NATO.