Wednesday, 2 May 2012
Two Hours After Obama's Afghanistan Speech Taliban Strike Back
The compound, known as Green Village, houses hundreds of foreign contractors, diplomats and foreign aid workers. It is located in East Kabul. While the exterior fence was penetrated the suicide bomber, with two attackers, were unable to penetrate the interior security fence. Gun fire and explosions could be heard for hours as Security forces responded.
Despite the claims made by President Obama in yesterday's speech, the Taliban have demonstrated with two major attacks in less than three weeks that they are still capable of striking the heart of the Afghan capital. The capital is already heavily guarded and must have had extra security for President Obama's visit.
President Obama during his speech yesterday said:
"We are starting this drawdown from a position of strength. Al Qaeda is under more pressure than at any time since 9/11. Together with the Pakistanis, we have taken out more than half of al Qaeda’s leadership. And thanks to our intelligence professionals and Special Forces, we killed Osama bin Laden, the only leader that al Qaeda had ever known. This was a victory for all who have served since 9/11. One soldier summed it up well. “The message,” he said, “is we don’t forget. You will be held accountable, no matter how long it takes.”
The information that we recovered from bin Laden’s compound shows al Qaeda under enormous strain. Bin Laden expressed concern that al Qaeda has been unable to effectively replace senior terrorists that have been killed, and that al Qaeda has failed in its effort to portray America as a nation at war with Islam – thereby draining more widespread support. Al Qaeda remains dangerous, and we must be vigilant against attacks. But we have put al Qaeda on a path to defeat, and we will not relent until the job is done.
In Afghanistan, we’ve inflicted serious losses on the Taliban and taken a number of its strongholds. Along with our surge, our allies also increased their commitments, which helped stabilize more of the country. Afghan Security Forces have grown by over 100,000 troops, and in some provinces and municipalities we have already begun to transition responsibility for security to the Afghan people. In the face of violence and intimidation, Afghans are fighting and dying for their country, establishing local police forces, opening markets and schools, creating new opportunities for women and girls, and trying to turn the page on decades of war."
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that it was a message to Obama that those that have signed the Strategic Partnership Agreement are not Afghans.
"This was a message to Obama that those are not real Afghans that are signing documents about this country. The real Afghan nation are those people that are not letting foreign invaders stay in this country or disrespect the dignity of our country."
While Mujahid said that the target was a foreign military base, an ISAF spokesman, Captain Justin Brockhoff said that no NATO bases came under attack.
Among military circles some concern has been raised as to the ability of Afghan Security Forces to take over responsibility for the security of Afghanistan. This is due to apparent drug use, defections and absenteeism. The Taliban has also been successful in infiltrating Security Forces.
The Taliban, after the attack three weeks ago, warned that their spring offensive, code-named "Al-Farouk," had started.
President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack, calling the militants "the slaves of foreigners who don't want Afghan children to learn."
The U.S. is expected to draw down 30,000 troops by the end of the year and the UK will reduce its contingent by 500. Australia has announced that its troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of next year.
It is not known how many troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014. The cost of the Strategic Partnership Agreement is expected to be $4.2 Billion of which the U.S. has apparently committed to fund at least half.