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Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Taliban attack shows tactical skill, military limits | Reuters
"The raids carried out by at least 10 gunmen, including suicide bombers, were well coordinated and bold even for Afghanistan and paralyzed the capital for several hours. However, while the militants spread out across a strategic area near government ministries and a luxury hotel, they failed to seize any of their declared targets and instead holed up in a poorly defended shopping center. "They just want to show their power, it was an 'attack show' from the Taliban, not a military-based action. I think there was not a military goal," said Wahid Mudjah, a Kabul-based writer and political analyst. "They just wanted a show for the international community." The attacks were perfectly timed. They came as Afghan President Hamid Karzai was swearing in cabinet members inside the presidential palace only hundreds of meters away, and after days of media chatter about a new "reintegration" drive to lure insurgents away from the battlefield. They were also dramatic, with an exploding ambulance adding to compelling images of a city under siege. Gunfire and loud explosions shook Kabul as black smoke billowed from the shopping center where fighters battled security forces for hours."