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August 16, 2009

Taliban Attacks NATO HQ in Afghanistan; 3 Macedonian Soldiers Hurt; Up to 100 Civilians Killed

A very unpleasant escalation.

I was 2-300 meters, and 2 or 3 blast walls, away when it happened. In a solid building, and it rattled the place.

I haven't seen any of our own official reports, but the AP says we (we meaning NATO) had 3 soldiers from Macedonia slightly wounded. A whole bunch, close to 100 according to the AP story, of civilians wounded and some dead. Some of those are kids.

Those kids are at the gate every day, selling gum and such to people walking in and out. The bombers obviously did their reconnaissance, so they had to know it. And they did their bomb anyway. That's the kind of evil that you just can't negotiate with.

It appears to have been a VBIED. There is a bit of good news, which I leave at the link.

Here's the AP brief:

A suicide car bomber struck near the front gate of NATO headquarters in Kabul killing seven people and wounding nearly 100 in a brazen daylight attack less than a week before Afghanistan's landmark presidential election.

Also Saturday, U.S. Marines pushed deeper into the strategic Helmand province town of Dahaneh for a fourth straight day, meeting fierce Taliban resistance as surface-to-surface missiles and Harrier fighter jets pounded insurgent positions in the surrounding hills.

The blast, which occurred about 8:35 a.m. in Kabul's heavily guarded diplomatic quarter, appeared aimed at frightening Afghans against participating in Thursday's presidential election and demonstrating that insurgents can strike whenever and wherever they want.

I don't know if I'd call that last sentence bias, but I would note that it is not surprising, nor much of an accompishment, that guerrilla terrorists and suicide bombers can "strike whenever and wherever they want."

Of course they can. They always could. No one can stop every suicide truck from detonating at least near a target. If you stop them at the outer level of security (as was the case here), they can still blow up the truck and kill the guys manning the gate and the civilians nearby.

This is hardly a revelation. Any army, especially a terrorist army, can always manage some amount of senseless, strategically-useless mass-murder if they have a mind to do so.

But -- to what end? You've butchered some kids and reminded people you can do so every once in a while, and that does cow a population, but it hardly demonstrates (as the AP strongly implies) you have anything approaching control-by-force of the area.

A psychotic kid can walk into a school or college and start shooting people. Obviously that is not a military victory in the sense that that kid is on a pathway to exerting military control over an area. It just proves that (unarmed) civilians are pretty easy to murder, but that is a proposition that hardly needs proving at this point.

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posted by Ace at 01:34 PM

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