Impressive Taliban Attack on Embassy Eclipses Success for Afghan Security Forces

On the heels of the attack on Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel in June and a British cultural center there in August, Tuesday’s well-coordinated attack on the United States embassy can be counted as another impressive showing by the Taliban. The New York Times reports that the attack “asserted the ability of the Taliban with a small number of men to use guerrilla tactics to terrify the population, dominate the media, and overshadow the West’s assertions that the Afghan government and security forces will soon be able to handle the insurgency on their own.”

On the bright side, Afghan security forces

… handled the response to the attack with little visible support from NATO troops, other than some surveillance. … Soon after Afghan forces flew their own attack helicopters to the building, strafing it and appearing to hit their target consistently. Late into the night, Afghan forces were still clearing it, floor by floor.

Still, the attack provides more fodder for those who would urge the United States to maintain its current presence.

A senior Western official said the attack made the talk of a peace deal with Taliban seem “absurd.”

Oddly, the attack comes just when “US Backs ‘Taleban Embassy’ In Move To End 10-Year War,” as the head to a London Times article (behind a paywall) by Catherine Philp and Jerome Starkey. (Thanks to Robert Naiman for bringing it to our attention.)

America has given its blessing for the Taleban to be brought in from the cold as the world paused to mark the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The Times has learnt that Washington has endorsed plans for the Islamist network to open political headquarters in the Gulf state of Qatar by the end of the year. The move has been devised so that the West can begin formal peace talks with the Taleban.

If the Taliban leadership is serious about negotiations, yet it or some faction of the Taliban executed a major attack on the United States, one can’t help but wonder: don’t these people talk to each other?