US ambassador to Afghanistan downplays Kabul attack as security doubts grow
Although Ambassador Crocker downplayed Tuesday's Kabul attack as 'not a very big deal,' they may have undermined US and Afghan assertions that Kabul's security situation is stable.
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But the Kabul attack, which targeted the US Embassy and NATO compounds in the city, raises concern about the stability as the US-led military coalition in Afghanistan prepares to hand over responsibilities to Afghan security forces. Ambassador Ryan Crocker said the attack will not change those plans, which are critical to the coalition's exit strategy, according to the Associated Press.
According to Agence France-Presse, 14 people were killed throughout the city in the attack. At least six rocket-propelled grenades landed in the embassy compound, although there were only a few injuries. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, but Mr. Crocker said he believed that the Pakistan-based Haqqani network was behind it.
Crocker also said he thought the nature of the attack showed a lack of strength among insurgents and paid tribute to the response of the Afghan security forces.
"If that's the best they can do, you know, I think it's actually a statement of their weakness and more importantly, since Kabul is in the hands of Afghan security, it's a real credit to the Afghan National Security Forces," he said.
The attack was complex enough to include multiple targets throughout the city. The fact that several insurgents made it into the most fortified part of the city implies that the militants may have help from someone inside the Afghan security forces, AP reports.
The attack did not result in many deaths, but it hurt US efforts to portray Kabul as secure, Dan Murphy writes for The Christian Science Monitor. Last week, Crocker told the Washington Post that Kabul's biggest concern was "traffic."