The Taliban unleashed a series of attacks in and around Kabul this weekend. Max Boot sees them as evidence of the insurgent group's weakness:
Just look at the casualty count: Apparently two Afghan police officers were killed in the attacks and 14 injured along with some 30 civilians. There were no reports of any serious casualties to Americans or other international forces. The attackers failed to gain possession of the Parliament building or any other target, and they were swiftly defeated by Afghan Security Forces who needed minimal assistance from coalition forces.
One local Afghan newspaper was left puzzling as to the purpose of these attacks, which, like those in Baghdad, likely have not hope of tactical success. The article speculates that the Taliban are trying to keep the US boots on the ground, just as President Hamid Karzai is, so as to extract strategic rent from the ongoing Western presence in Afghanistan. That is, some allege that the attacks in Kabul were motivated by a desire to draw the US into a longer-term occupation, so that the Taliban can be assured of having someone to fight. (Seems unlikely to me, but interesting that it appeared in the Afghan press. And, I don’t think it would work. Most Americans, even Republicans, want out, and I think most US troops will be out by 2014…)
Steve Saideman selects a few more interesting nuggets from the story.
(Photo: Afghan policemen are mirrored in glass from a broken window as they stand guard outside the building where Taliban fighters launched an attack in Kabul on April 16, 2012. A total of 36 Taliban militants were killed as they mounted a wave of attacks across Afghanistan, Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi said on April 16. By Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images.)