The audacious attacks claimed by the Taliban yesterday in Kabul, targeting shopping centres, government buildings and a hotel, claimed several lives, with several dozen more people injured. But the psychological impact is likely to be far more powerful and lasting as Afghan President Hamid Karzai struggles to put together his government.
Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper is scathing over the apparent failure of US-led forces:
‘It is quite obvious from yesterday’s incidents that the huge US-led ISAF force of over 100,000, has failed even to secure the Afghan Capital Kabul against attacks from the resistance. All they have done during the past eight years or so in the country is to cause widespread havoc, kill people by the tens of thousands, lay waste vast tracts of land and pulverise mountains.’
Of course this interpretation ignores the fact that a brutal governing regime was removed from power, one whose fighters are now also battling Pakistani forces in Waziristan, as one of our contributors reported this week. Indeed he notes the failure of Pakistani forces to prevent numerous high-profile attacks at the heart of the country, attacks prompted by a Pakistan-led offensive, not a US one.
It’s unclear what impact the surge announced late last year by Obama will do, or whether it will succeed. It might very well not. But implying that a full US withdrawal would magically eliminate the Taliban threat is fanciful, to put it kindly.