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Shoot-out In Kabul

  • September 14th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

kabul-fighting-14911.jpg A suicide squad of insurgents played for major impact, in an attack on the centre of Kabul, overnight on 13-14..11.

They got past area security to take up positions with automatic weapons and rocket grenades, in a high-rise building under construction, and from there shot up the United States embassy building, and the building of the allied command, the International Security Assistance Force ISAF).

No casualties were reported there but as many as six Afghan troops were killed in the main action, lasting over 19 hours.

At least six insurgents were killed at the occupied site, the Afghanistan forces using helicopters at the end.

The strike inside the zone occupied by the government, embassies and aid organisations, was coordinated with bomb attacks on government buildings elsewhere in the city, causing several deaths.

United States sources estimated the attack was organised by the Haqqani group based in the tribal areas of Pakistan, with links to  the Taliban movement and al-Qaida terrorists.

They said it would not alter the process of handing on full control of security to the Afghan government.

The strategically placed attack had hallmarks of the Tet offensive in Saigon in 1968, a shock to public thinking about the Vietnam war that undermined political support for it in America.

tet-book.jpgAnalysts, viz Don Oberdorfer of the Washington Post in a  celebrated book, put the offensive into a different, military perspective, describing it as a failure that disabled the South Vietnam based communist irregular  army, the Viet Cong.

That did not deflect from the impact of images of a small group of guerillas chased down inside the American embassy compound.

Times do change; in 2011 more arresting scenes are played out more routinely, on millions more television screens.

The battle of downtown Kabul caught attention; it may have major impact on the confidence of people in the city; impact may be less on already-jaded public opinion in Europe and the United States.

The NATO alliance, which formed the ISAF command to prosecute operations in Afghanistan, has had its troubles persuading member countries to maintain the strength of their forces.

Defence Ministers of the alliance are to meet in Brussels on 5- 6.10.11, with now some new material to add to the Afghanistan page on the agenda.


World – Washington Post with Foreign Policy (AP) , Washington, “Afghan government says insurgent attack in Kabul has ended, all assailants have been killed”, 14.9.11., (14.9.11).

NATO, Brussels, “NATO Newsletter: Defence Ministerial Meetings”, Pressrelease (2011) 112, 13.9.11.

Heidi Vogt, Associated Press, NY, “US ambassador: Haqqani group behind Kabul attack”, 14.9.11., (14.9.11).

Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, “Oberdorfer: Tet and Iraq: Parallels and Differences”, 23.10.06. council on foreign relations, (14.9.11).