Taliban Launch Deadly Attack in Kabul.
Though the attackers caused relatively little loss of life — three private guards were killed — the assault’s progress past a major checkpoint troubled many. There were ripples far beyond the capital, as well. Afghan officials with the government’s High Peace Council said the attack would further jeopardize any hopes of salvaging a stalled effort to open negotiations with the Taliban in Qatar.
“Today’s attack will definitely have a negative impact on the peace talks,” said Musa Hotak, a member of the council. “The only conclusion from today’s attack that I can draw is that the Taliban want to put pressure on the Afghan government to accept their preconditions for talks and give up on some of its preconditions.”
The Afghan delegation to the talks remains in the country, stalled after Taliban envoys appeared to be using the opening of their political office in Doha to establish a higher international profile and stage a publicity coup. Though the Taliban later removed a flag and a sign that the Afghan government found offensive, the continued pattern of attacks within Afghanistan has kept the chill in place.
Tuesday’s attack, less than two weeks after a suicide bomber killed 17 people near the Supreme Court and a little more than two weeks after an attack on Kabul airport,underscored the capital’s continuing vulnerability.
“The tempo is quite relentless,” said one Western official here.
In the latest attack, the militants used the sole entrance to the secured area that had only one entry checkpoint. The other entrances have multiple barriers spaced at least 100 feet apart where vehicles and passengers are scrutinized, another Western official said.
Driving two vehicles with counterfeit vehicle passes and wearing international-style military uniforms, the militants approached the eastern gate to the government Green Zone early Tuesday, according to Kabul’s deputy police chief, Gen. Daoud Amin.
The first vehicle got inside, driving about 100 yards until it was close to one of the entrances of the C.I.A. compound. But the second was stopped by the checkpoint guards, who began shooting at the insurgents, according to both Afghan and international security officials. In early reports by Afghan officials, they said that the Taliban were driving sport utility vehicles that resembled those used by international forces here, but late Tuesday, some Western officials said that at least one of the vehicles was a smaller car.
The insurgents in the second vehicle began shooting, and at least one detonated his suicide vest. Three private security guards were killed and one was wounded, said Sediq Sediqi, the Interior Ministry spokesman.
In the meantime, the attackers in the vehicle that had entered the secure area were killed either by Afghan or Western guards during a long firefight near the C.I.A. compound’s gate. That compound was not breached, an American official said.
The total number of Taliban attackers was still unclear late Tuesday, but international officials put the number at between 8 and 10, while the Afghan authorities said there were five.(Courtesy:Google News)