At 0630 this morning, Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in the form of the Kabul Critical Response Unit (CRU) finished off a crew of villains who had been fighting for the past 16 hours. These guys, most likely HIG militants, had barricaded themselves in a building under construction next to the Azizi Bank located on Zambaq Square, which is right next to the diplomatic quarter. This is the same tactic they used in the attack on the diplomatic quarter last September, but this time they fired from the opposite direction.
ANSF had pinned the attackers in that building from the start and by the time I was able to climb up Bibi Mahroo hill to get a look at the site, the fighting was all outgoing. The attackers may have still been firing AK’s at that point, but I could only confirm that they were taking all the incoming rockets and heavy machinegun fire while returning little of anything. When a brick wall is all that separates you from the effects of RPG’s and rockets, the pounding your body takes from the overpressure is brutal. I doubt that the villains were in any condition to offer effective resistance by the time the CRU went in to finish them off. At 0630 local time, the scene was declared secure and ANSF announced that the insurgents involved in other attacks in the city had also been terminated.
These attacks, like those before them, accomplished very little tactically. But they don’t have to accomplish much of anything. Just mounting the attack is a victory for insurgents with the only audience that counts: the people of Afghanistan. It may seem weird, but tactical victories are meaningless now for all sides of this conflict.
So we now have another problem. Not the attacks – they accomplished nothing, as they usually do, except to demonstrate the insurgents’ ability to stockpile weapons and ammunition inside the most secure parts of Kabul. That takes time, money, and access. They had to pay for that access and whoever they did pay – that’s the problem. But it’s not an ISAF problem; this problem belongs with the Afghans. The latest casualty figured via Reuters;
Afghan security forces have killed 32 gunmen and arrested one more in operations to stop co-ordinated attacks by Taliban fighters that hit the capital, Kabul, and three other provinces, the defence ministry said on Monday. Eight members of the security forces have been killed and 44 others, including five civilians, wounded, Mohammad Zahir, Kabul CID chief, said on Monday.
Given the amount of ordnance the insurgents fired off that is amazing. This isn’t the last time Kabul is going to be targeted; we’ll be in the hot seat again soon. For now the local people are going about their business hoping that the next time insurgents decide to make a statement their luck continues to hold.