The high profile attacks by the Taleban-led insurgents in the heart of Kabul targeting diplomatic missions, Nato headquarters and the Parliament may have been defeated but at what cost.
The insurgents have been vanquished but the attack has succeeded in highlighting the fragile security situation and the dismal failure of the intelligence. No wonder that the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai has blamed intelligence failure particularly that of Nato for this serious lapse in security. The fact that this brazen and well coordinated assault and subsequent siege of these high security targets was carried out in the first place defies logic, especially when past attacks in the same zones should have put in place fool proof security deterrents to repel any such initiatives.
Besides Kabul, Logar, Paktia and Nangarhar provinces also witnessed attacks on the same day, sending a powerful message across of the insurgents’ capability and intent. While the casualties – that includes the killing of three civilians and eight Afghan security forces besides the 65 that were injured – itself are regrettable, worse is the sense of insecurity that continues to prevail despite the overoptimistic evocations of how the insurgency has been weakened. These attacks, that also herald the Taleban spring offensive, confirm that this is an unrealistic assessment.
President Karzai’s demand for an investigation into this serious breach in intelligence needs to be addressed on an urgent basis. The fact that the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) remain in charge of the security till their scheduled exit in 2014 calls in question why there was no knowledge of an assault of this stature. While Kabul and ISAF military commanders do not always see eye-to-eye on several strategic aspects of counterinsurgency including night raids and collateral civilian killings etc, the onus of the security still lies with the foreign forces.
The Afghan security forces while much improved are yet far from assuming responsibility. Much t o the chagrin of the Afghans, it seems that even the foreign forces with their far superior training, weaponry and intelligence knowhow cannot guarantee their safety. These periodic attacks have been detrimental in eroding the trust and confidence of the civilians regarding their security and have in fact consolidated the belief that the insurgents will be back at the helm in future.
In view of the security failures it may be high time that the departure deadline of foreign forces’ is reviewed. More important is to review tactical and startegic dealings with the insurgency. This war can drag on unless a political solution is sought, even if that means making unpalatable concessions. – Khaleejnews