Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

Featured Posts        





Jan 19th, 2010

Taliban Launches Brazen Attack on Kabul

At least five killed as militants strike government buildings, shopping mall


Taliban suicide bombers target Kabul (NBC Nightly News, Jan. 18, 2010) — Taliban suicide squads struck the heart of the Afghan capital Monday during a sustained attack in which insurgents bombed the presidential palace and other key government buildings. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports. (02:03) 

Jan. 18, 2010

KABUL — Taliban militants struck in the heart of the Afghan capital Monday, launching suicide attacks at key government targets in a clear sign the insurgents plan to escalate their fight as the U.S. and its allies ramp up their own campaign to end the war. At least five people, including a child, were killed and nearly 40 wounded, officials said.

After a series of blasts and more than three hours of ensuing gunfights outside several ministries and inside a shopping mall, President Hamid Karzai said security had been restored to the capital, though search operations continued amid reports that attackers were hiding in the city.

It was the biggest attack in the capital since Oct. 28 when gunmen with automatic weapons and suicide vests stormed a guest house used by U.N. staff, killing at least 11 people including three U.N. staff.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The Associated Press that 20 armed militants, including some with suicide vests, had entered Kabul to target the presidential palace and other government buildings in the center of the capital.

Explosions and heavy machine-gun fire rattled the city for hours. Debris was strewn on the streets, which were quickly abandoned by crowds that normally fill the area. Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said a child and a policeman were killed. The Ministry of Public Health later said five people — a civilian and four security forces — were killed and 30 others wounded.

Four militants also were killed, including two suicide bombers who detonated their explosives, and Afghan forces were searching several other areas in the city for more attackers, Azimi said. …

The first blast was heard shortly before 10 a.m. in an area where government buildings are concentrated, including the presidential palace, the central bank and the luxury Serana Hotel, which is frequented by Westerners.

Azimi said a rocket slammed into the street near the bank’s gate, but there were conflicting reports that the area had been struck by a suicide bomber or grenades. …

Police sealed off a large area in the center of Kabul as the clash of machine-gun fire echoed through the mountain-rimmed city. Helicopters buzzed overhead. A car that exploded between a shopping center and the Ministry of Education burned in the street.

Photo chronicle
Image: An Afghan policeman stands in front of the shopping mall as the government forces restored control after the attack in Kabul
Taliban strike the heart of Kabul (MSNBC, Jan. 18, 2010) — Security forces battle militants in the streets, following multiple attacks across downtown Kabul.

Fighting raged for more than three hours and one four-story shopping center near the Justice Ministry was engulfed in flames after a group of militants entered the building, throwing grenades inside to frighten shoppers, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Zemari Bashary.

Two suicide bombers later detonated their explosives and Afghan troops killed two other militants in the mall, Bashary said. He said other militants were holed up on the top floor, but officials later said the building had been cleared.

‘Security … is deteriorating’

Elsewhere in the capital, Afghan troops also surrounded an area housing a well-known cinema and opened fire on militants believed hiding inside. A police officer at the site, Ghulam Ghaus, said the fighting ended after the last suicide attacker inside blew himself up. It wasn’t clear how many others were in the building.

Militants have become increasingly brazen in challenging Afghan and international forces as the U.S. and NATO allies begin sending 37,000 more troops to join the fight.

The ability of the insurgents to penetrate the heavily secured city — even near the presidential palace and government ministries — also was likely to deal a new blow to public confidence in the Afghan government, already tarnished by a fraud-marred election.

“We are so concerned, so disappointed about the security in the capital,” said Mohammad Hussain, a 25-year-old shopkeeper, who witnessed the fighting. “Tens of thousands of U.S. and NATO troops are being sent to Afghanistan, yet security in the capital is deteriorating.” …


Related report

Kabul attack shows resilience of Afghan militants
(Dexter Filkins, New York Times, Jan. 18, 2010)

Slide presentation
Bold Attacks Shake Kabul
Bold attacks shake Kabul


1/19/10 Update

Afghans Tighten Security in Kabul after Attack

Image: Afghan cleans up a shopping mall
An Afghan cleans up a shopping mall destroyed in fighting in central Kabul, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. (Photo credit: Farzana Wahidy / AP)

Jan. 19, 2010

KABUL — Two U.S. service members were killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, a day after a brazen Taliban attack on the capital showed militants are stepping up their fight against the U.S. and its allies. …

Also Tuesday, Afghan forces increased the number of checkpoints and patrols in the capital amid public anger over security lapses that enabled a small group of militants mount a series of suicide explosions and gunbattles the day before. …

In Atlanta, Georgia, Gen. David Petraeus, who oversees the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, said the attacks showed “the resilience and indeed a degree of sophistication” among the militants “in carrying out simultaneous attacks” against major government targets.

Many Afghans expressed frustration that a handful of gunmen and suicide bombers were able to paralyze the city of 4 million for hours. …


Related report

Major Attacks in Afghanistan’s Capital

Jan. 18, 2010

A look at major attacks in Afghanistan’s capital [links added]:

  • Jan. 18, 2010: Team of suicide bombers and gunmen target government buildings, leaving 12 dead, including 7 attackers.
  • Dec. 15, 2009: Suicide car bomber strikes near hotel frequented by Westerners, killing 8 people.
  • Oct. 28, 2009: Gunmen with suicide vests storm a guest house, leaving 11 dead, including 5 U.N. staff and 3 attackers.
  • Oct. 8, 2009: A suicide car bomber detonates his vehicle outside the Indian Embassy, killing 17 people.
  • Sept. 17, 2009: A suicide car bomber kills six Italian soldiers and 10 Afghan civilians on one of Kabul’s main roads.
  • Aug. 15, 2009: Suicide car bomber strikes near the front gate of NATO’s headquarters, killing seven people.
  • Feb. 11, 2009: Militants launch coordinated assault on three government buildings, killing at least 20 people.
  • July 7, 2008: A suicide car bomb detonates at the gates of the Indian Embassy, killing more than 60 people.
  • Jan. 15, 2008: Militants storm the Serena Hotel in a coordinated assault that kills seven.


Related reports on this site

Deadly Day in Afghanistan (Jan. 11, 2010)

“Death to America” (Jan. 7, 2010)

“Death to Obama” (Dec. 31, 2009)

Outside the Box in Afghanistan (Dec. 20, 2009)

Public Opinion on Afghan Surge (Dec. 17, 2009)

Iraq, AfPak Have Little in Common (Dec. 5, 2009)

Obama Rolls Dice on AfPak War (Dec. 2, 2009)

Afghanistan Tougher Than Iraq (Nov. 28, 2009)

Escalating Afghanistan Violence (Nov. 20, 2009)

Iraq-AfPak War Update (Nov. 8, 2009)

Afghan War Closes in on Kabul (Oct. 28, 2009)

14 Americans Dead in Afghanistan (Oct. 26, 2009)

Afghan War Expands to Region (Oct. 8, 2009)

Afghanistan: The 8-Year War (Oct. 7, 2009)

Deadly Day for U.S. in Afghanistan (Oct. 4, 2009)

Afghanistan War Strategy Review (Oct. 3, 2009)

‘Tiring’ of Afghanistan War (Sept. 25, 2009)

Afghanistan ‘Mission Failure’ (Sept. 21, 2009)

9 Coalition Troops Killed (Sept. 19, 2009)

NATO HQ in Afghanistan Attacked (Aug. 15, 2009)

Mumbai-Like Strike in Kabul (Feb. 12, 2009)



Gunmen kill five in Iraqi NGO office (Reuters, Jan. 18, 2010) — Gunmen burst into a Baghdad office of a non-governmental organization and shot dead the five people inside, Iraqi police said. The attackers planted a bomb in the entrance to the office which exploded when security forces arrived, killing or wounding some of them. … Full story


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — January 19, 2009

Tim Sloan / The Associated Press

U.S. Economy Faltered Under Bush

One-year retrospective: One year ago today, I reported that President George W. Bush presided over the weakest eight-year span for the U.S. economy in decades, according to an analysis of key data, with economists across the ideological spectrum increasingly viewing his two terms as a time of little progress on the nation’s thorniest fiscal challenges. Specifically, the number of jobs in the nation increased by about 2 percent during Bush’s tenure, the most tepid growth over any eight-year span since data collection began seven decades ago. Gross domestic product, a broad measure of economic output, grew at the slowest pace for a period of that length since the Truman administration. And Americans’ incomes grew more slowly than in any presidency since the 1960s, other than that of Bush’s father George H. W. Bush.

12 Responses to “Taliban Siege Rattles Kabul”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Major Afghan Offensive Imminent Says:

    […] In January 2010, Taliban suicide fighters stormed the center of Kabul, paralyzing the capital for hours and sending government officials fleeing to bunkers before the attackers were all killed. […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Taliban Strikes in Heart of Kabul Says:

    […] Taliban Siege Rattles Kabul (Jan. 19, 2010) […]

  3. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Taliban Defiant in Kandahar Says:

    […] Taliban Siege Rattles Kabul (Jan. 19, 2010) […]

  4. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Michele Bachmann: ‘Obamacare’ . . . the ‘Crown Jewel of Socialism’ Says:

    […] Taliban Siege Rattles Kabul […]

  5. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Taliban Attack Caught on Camera Says:

    […] Taliban Siege Rattles Kabul (Jan. 19, 2010) […]

  6. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » No Way Forward in Afghanistan Says:

    […] Taliban Siege Rattles Kabul (Jan. 19, 2010) […]

  7. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Gunbattle Rages for Hours in Kabul, Afghanistan Says:

    […] Taliban Siege Rattles Kabul (Jan. 19, 2010) […]

  8. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Daylong Taliban Siege of U.S. Embassy in Kabul Says:

    […] Taliban Siege Rattles Kabul (Jan. 19, 2010) […]

  9. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Deadliest Attack on U.S. Coalition in Kabul Since Afghan War Began Says:

    […] Taliban Siege Rattles Kabul (Jan. 19, 2010) […]

  10. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Iraq-Like Sectarian Slaughter in Afghanistan Says:

    […] Taliban Siege Rattles Kabul (Jan. 19, 2010) […]

  11. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Taliban Launch Spring Offensive With Attacks Across Kabul Says:

    […] Taliban Siege Rattles Kabul (Jan. 19, 2010) […]

  12. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » NATO Returns Fire in Kabul Siege Says:

    […] Taliban Siege Rattles Kabul (Jan. 19, 2010) […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.