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Terrorism & Security

Taliban assault on Kabul airport ends with seven militants dead

A small Taliban unit assaulted the Kabul airport just before dawn today. Afghan police and Army units handled the response.

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They send a message that even heavily manned areas aren’t safe and that the insurgency can strike at will, potentially hastening the drawdown of NATO troops. And they are a show of strength to other Afghan groups and parties vying for power after the foreigners leave.

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Latin America Editor

Whitney Eulich is the Monitor's Latin America editor, overseeing regional coverage for CSMonitor.com and the weekly magazine. She also curates the Latin America Monitor Blog.

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The Christian Science Monitor wrote last month that after more than a decade of international aid and military support, Afghanistan is preparing for a significant change.

Next year will mark the end of NATO’s combat mission in Afghanistan. By December 2014, the 99,000 US and other foreign troops still here will be gone. The Afghan National Security Forces – Army and police – will be left to largely stand on their own against a nasty insurgency….

Afghans in and around Kabul reveal anxieties about the US and NATO drawdown, and many say they have daydreams of leaving before chaos sets in – a recent Asia Society survey found that one-third of Afghans would leave the country if they could. Many express fear of the Taliban’s return to power – even though many Afghan experts assert that the country has evolved and modernized too much for that to happen.

But today’s attack could serve as a glimmer of hope for some. Afghan police and Army units carried out the operation against the Taliban, with international forces serving only an advisory role, reports the BBC.

The New York Times notes, “The response by Kabul’s security forces indicated that their speed and organization had improved markedly over the past few years.”

In earlier coordinated attacks by insurgents, civilians caught in the cross-fire were often killed or wounded and large sections of the capital were locked down for up to 20 hours. Although much depends on the tactics of the insurgents, it appeared that the Kabul police and Afghan special forces are now able to move faster and with less disruption to daily life.

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