Thursday, September 15
Taliban launch complex attack on US embassy in KabulSeptember 15:
By Bill Roggio
Long War Journal
The Taliban launched a complex daylight attack on the US embassy and NATO headquarters in a secured area of Kabul this afternoon. While suicide bombers targeted the Kabul civil order police station and another police station a few kilometers away, fighters armed with rifles and RPGs fired at the embassy and NATO headquarters. Another suicide bomber was killed on a road near the airport.
The Taliban have conducted several high-profile attacks in the Afghan capital this year. On Aug. 18, a suicide assault team killed eight people at the office of the British Council. On June 28, a suicide assault team stormed the Intercontinental Hotel and killed 13 people. On June 18, a suicide assault team attacked a police station near the Interior Ministry, killing eight people. On May 21, a suicide bomber killed six people in a hospital. On April 28, a suicide bomber penetrated security at the Ministry of Defense, killing two soldiers and wounding several senior officials. On February 24, a suicide bomber detonated outside of the Safi Landmark hotel, killing two people. And on January 28, a suicide assault team killed eight people at the Finest grocery.
Today's suicide attack, like the others in Kabul, was likely carried out by the Kabul Attack Network, which is made up of fighters from the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, and cooperates with terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and al Qaeda. Top Afghan intelligence officials have linked the Kabul Attack Network to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence directorate as well. The network's tentacles extend outward from Kabul into the surrounding provinces of Logar, Wardak, Nangarhar, Kapisa, Ghazni, and Zabul, a US intelligence official recently told The Long War Journal.
U.S. warns Pakistan after suspected Haqqani attackSeptember 15:
By Phil Stewart
11:19am IST (Indian Standard Time)
(SAN FRANCISCO) - Defence Secretary Leon Panetta warned Pakistan on Wednesday the United States would "do everything we can" to defend U.S. forces from Pakistan-based militants staging attacks in Afghanistan.
U.S. officials, including Panetta, suspect militants from the Haqqani network were behind Tuesday's rocket attack on the U.S. Embassy compound in Kabul [nL3E7KE0HW], as well as a truck bomb last Saturday that wounded 77 American forces.
"Time and again we've urged the Pakistanis to exercise their influence over these kinds of attacks from the Haqqanis. And we have made very little progress in that area," Panetta told reporters flying with him to San Francisco.
He added, "I think the message they (the Pakistanis) need to know is: we're going to do everything we can to defend our forces."
Panetta, who was CIA director until July, has long pressed Islamabad to go after the Haqqanis, perhaps the most feared of the Taliban-allied insurgent factions fighting U.S.-led NATO and Afghan troops in Afghanistan.
He declined to answer questions about what steps the United States might take to defend U.S. forces. But Panetta said he was concerned about the Haqqanis' ability to attack American troops and then "escape back into what is a safe haven in Pakistan."
"And that's unacceptable," Panetta said.
"I'm not going to talk about how we're going to respond. I'll just let you know that we are not going to allow these kinds of attacks to go on," Panetta said.
Pakistan's Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, has long been suspected of maintaining ties to the Haqqani network, cultivated during the 1980s when Jalaluddin Haqqani was a feared battlefield commander against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
While based in Pakistan's North Waziristan area on the Afghan border, Haqqani refrains from attacking the Pakistani state and is seen as a way to maintain Pakistani influence in any future political settlement in Afghanistan.
Islamabad fends off U.S. warning on "Pakistan-based" militants
By Zeeshan Haider
3:24am EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)
(ISLAMABAD) Pakistani officials on Thursday fended off a warning that the United States would do whatever it takes to defend U.S. forces from Pakistan-based militants staging attacks in Afghanistan, saying there was no proof of such cross-border operations.
Pakistani officials said it was the responsibility of U.S.-led forces to crack down on militants when they enter Afghanistan.
"We are using all our resources to fight terrorism. As far as these issues like Haqqani network launching attacks from Pakistani territory is concerned, has any proof ever been given?" said a senior Pakistani military official who asked not to be named.
A senior Pakistani government official involved in defense policy said the South Asian country, reliant on billions of dollars in U.S. aid, was doing all it could to stop militants from crossing the border to Afghanistan.
"But if the militants are doing something inside Afghanistan, then it is the responsibility of the Afghan and Western forces to hold them on the borders," he said.
"They let everyone go scot-free on their side (of the border) and then they say Pakistan is not doing enough."