Foreign Policy Blogs

The War Comes To Kabul

Yesterday’s attack in Kabul by a team of 7 Taliban members once again highlights the fragility of the Afghan government and state. Though only 5 non-insurgents were killed, 3 Afghan soldiers and 2 civilians, the militants were able to disrupt hundreds of Kabul citizens’ lives and threaten the safety of President Karzai and members of his cabinet for over 4 hours.

The attack had a Mumbai massacre feel to it, but it appears that the Taliban fighters were more precise with their targets, as one present Afghan civilian stated “If they wanted to, they could have killed everyone.” For instance, though two of the attackers entered a mall full of vulnerable shoppers, the militants let most leave the premise safely. It appears that the US-backed Afghan state was the real target, especially President Karzai, Central Bank, and Ministry of Justice. Also possible, is that this Taliban mission could show a more concerted effort by the insurgent group to avoid civilian casualties as they can be deemed counter productive.

New York Times reporter Dexter Filkins has done an excellent job following this story. This incredible video of one of the explosions that occurred helps show the intensity of the attack: