US General Says Terrorist Bombing Of Elite Afghan Unit Is Actually Sign Of Weakness

REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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Officials believes that Tuesday’s attack on Afghanistan’s secret service is a sign that they are losing combat effectiveness. The suicide bombing killed around 28 and wounded as many as 320 in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

According to Afghan Interior Minister Sediq Sediqqi, two Taliban fighters conducted the attack. The two terrorists utilized a common terrorist bombings strategy: first, one of the terrorists drove a truck laden with hundreds of pounds of explosives and detonated it. Following the first attack, the second terrorist opened fire on survivors before eventually being killed.

The attack raises questions as to the efficacy of the Afghan security apparatus and whether or not the Taliban can be subdued without U.S. support.

“With no doubt there was a security vacuum and that needs to investigated, it is too early to comment on that right now,” said Sediqqi during a press conference after the attack.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani attempted to quell any concerns as to the capability of Afghanistan’s security forces, saying the attack “clearly shows the enemy’s defeat in face-to-face battle with Afghan security forces.”

U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of NATO forces participating the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, echoed Ghani, telling the Long War Journal that “today’s attack shows the insurgents are unable to meet Afghan forces on the battlefield and must resort to these terrorist attacks.”

“We strongly condemn the actions of Afghanistan’s enemies and remain firmly committed to supporting our Afghan partners and the National Unity Government,” said Nicholson.

The Kabul bombing is the second attack Taliban forces have perpetrated against the government in the last week. A firefight between security forces and Taliban militants four days ago in Kunduz province saw the Afghans successfully fight off the militants. Ongoing operations to clear Kunduz of Taliban forces are ongoing.

The Taliban have referred to its recent offensive against government forces as ‘Operation Omari,’ named after Taliban founder Mullah Omar.

Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal disagrees that the bombing is a sign that the Taliban are weakened. “The Taliban are openly engaging Afghan forces on the battlefield on multiple fronts throughout Afghanistan,” said Roggio in a recent article for the Long War Journal. “In the south, the Taliban controls nearly half of Helmand province and has pressured Afghan forces to retreat from key district there.”

Roggio and his colleagues estimated that the Taliban “controls or hotly contests” over 80 of Afghanistan’s 400 government districts.

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