April 15, 2012
According to US military reports earlier this morning, the Taliban have mounted a multi-pronged attack where they succeeded in hitting a number of Afghanistan’s urban areas in a coordinated paramilitary attack that has left both the US and German embassies, as well as NATO’s military headquarters on total lock-down.
Militants are said to have launched a series of gun and fired rocket-propelled grenade attacks, using a vacant commercial building in central Kabul to stage what is being described as an Afghan ‘Tet Offensive’.
The Washington Post reported from Kabul today:
“Armed insurgents, including some suicide bombers, have taken control of buildings in these areas,” said Sediq Sediqi, an Interior Ministry spokesman.
Attackers also targeted a NATO base in Jalalabad, as well as Afghan installations in the capitals of Logar and Paktia provinces, according to officials.
“The attackers occupied a building opposite a university in the city of Gardez and were firing at various directions, including government buildings,” said Rohullah Samoon, a spokesman for the governor of Paktia.
This latest insurgent operation comes in the wake of numerous US military fumbles in the country, most notably a civilian massacre where 18 innocent villagers were slaughtered by at least one US soldier, followed by an alleged cover-up of the incident by a nervous US high command in Afghanistan. Previous to that incident was the US military Koran burning incident which sparked similar outrage across the country.
The village massacre is said to have been carried out by lone gunman Sgt Robert Bales, prompting what appeared to be a cover-up by US military investigators. Afghan President Hamid Karzai referred to US troops as “demons”, and stated publicly that he would prefer that NATO troops withdraw from villages across the country – a move which would amount to a total defeat for the US military’s overall counterinsurgency strategy.
Most pundits agree now that the bloody event was a public relations turning points for the 11 year-long US-NATO military occupation in Afghanistan, and provided endless motivation for the Afghan resistance across the country.
The recent US military civilian massacre is drawing stark comparisons to Vietnam’s My Lai massacre, which many believe was the catalyst for the 1968 Tet Offensive, where North Vietnamese Vietcong forces launched a summer surge, resulting in heavy losses sustained by US forces at that time. Following the Tet Offensive, most Americans believed that the U.S. had made a mistake by being in Vietnam – feeling the decade-long struggle was simply not worthwhile.
Regardless of the drawbacks involved in fighting a protracted, nationwide guerilla war on the ground, US leaders are still determined to ‘stay course’, warning of a resurgence of both the Taliban and al-Qaida, as well as re-stoking fears of the attack of September 11, 2001.
This was plainly evident in statements made by US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker who was interviewed this morning by CNN from his post in Kabul. When CNN’s news presenter posed the question to Crocker, ‘Do you get the feeling that maybe we should think about ending this war sooner than the President would like to’ ? Crocker answered:
“I feel just the opposite… If we get out now it would invite al-Qaida and the Taliban back into the country, and invite another 911”.
The Taliban have launched a number of successful attacks in Kabul recently, including an major attack on the US embassy last fall, but this is the first time to date that attacks have hit so many targets simultaneously.
US and NATO ‘defense planners’, along with paralysed pro-war politicians in Washington, are finding it difficult to justify their nation-building projects in the region. Experts are now coming to the conclusion that far from improving America’s national security,the Afghan occupation is inflaming relations with its former ally Pakistan, and is helping to increase the overall geopolitical polarity in Central Asia – not to mention costing hundreds of billions of dollars per year.
President Obama has announced yet another withdrawal date for 2014, but as the Afghan resistance steps up their attacks in the country, expect US leaders to continue rekindling fears of 911 in order to extend the 11 year occupation into the foreseeable future.