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 attacked from the opposite direction.
ANSF pinned the attackers down at the start of this incident yesterday afternoon. When I climbed up Bibi Mahroo Hill this morning all the shooting (and there was a lot still going on) was being done by the ANSF. When a brick wall is all that separates you from the exploding RPG’s, anti tank rockets and heavy machinegun fire; the concussive effect from the over-pressure are 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 had been terminated.
These attacks, like those before them, accomplished very little tactically but then again they don’t have to. Just mounting the attack is a victory for insurgents with the only audience that counts: the people of Afghanistan. Tactical victories are physical victories and at this point in the conflict physical victories don’t count only, moral ones do. The Taliban are fighting against infidel invaders and a corrupt central government. They are gaining the moral high ground with the Afghan people by standing up to the worlds most powerful military and an unpopular central government.
So we now have another problem. Not the attack; it accomplished nothing except to demonstrate the insurgents’ ability to stockpile weapons and ammunition inside the most secure parts of Kabul. That takes time, money and access; whoever they paid for the access is the problem and those kind of problems are endemic in Kabul.
Here are the latest casualty figures for this series of attacks from Reuters;
Afghan security forces have killed 32 gunmen and arrested one more in operations to stop coordinated attacks by Taliban fighters that hit the capital, Kabul, and three other provinces, the defense 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 an amazingly low count. 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.