Why Another Blog?

I've decided to set up another blog, (my other one is called Writer's Musings), because there are some topics just too weighty for that blog.

So here it is. In this space I'll explore more serious issues in more detail. I do not expect visitors to agree with me in all cases.
In this forum feel free to take off the gloves, grab a handful of mud and fight for what you believe in.

Simple rules, rather like cage-fighting in the blogosphere:
No direct name calling. No excessive profanity. No whining when smacked in the face with mud.
Sling inuendo. Feel free to ask leading questions even if in a snide tone.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Attack on the Ministry of Justice in Kabul

On 11 February, attacks were staged on the Ministry of Justice and a Prisons Office. A third target seemed to be the Ministry of Education, which is near the Justice Ministry. However, it is possible that that lone attacker was simply lost. The attacker at the Ministry of Education was shot dead before he could cause any trouble.

Five attackers hit the Ministry of Justice, killing two policemen as they entered the building. One of the five was shot dead by a policman who followed them into the building. The remaining four then fanned out shooting at anyone who crossed their path. They managed to kill ten civilians and 57 were injured or wounded (many of the injured were hurt jumping out windows to escape the gunmen). Kabul police responded quickly, entered the building and killed all four assailants.

At the prisons office two attackers attempted to enter the building. One was shot dead immediately by a policeman. The second attacker shot the policeman dead, entered the building and detonated his explosive vest, killing himself and seven policemen.

The end tally was: terrorists 8 dead, police 10 dead, civilians 10 dead and 57 injured/wounded.

What is clear is that the attackers were trying to emulate a "Mumbai-like" attack. A key difference: Afghan police are not afraid to fight it out. The Afghans recognized the developing threat, killing three of the attackers as they entered the buildings. They did not let things turn into a prolonged siege, quickly closing in on the terrorists in the building, hunting them down and killing them.

Let us keep this in perspective. This was a bad day by Kabul standards, but only one of many far better and steadily improving days. There are days the bad guys will have success. While the attack momentarily grabbed headlines, it did not, contrary to some news reports, paralyze the city.

All of the buildings attacked on 11 February had little to no stand-off from the street. They are difficult to protect and there are large numbers of people in front of, entering and leaving these buildings all day.

A factor that angers me somewhat is that since no Westerners were killed or directly involved, it was only a passing headline in the Western media. Apart from some alarmists and Pat Buchanan ranting about how "the war is lost" the story vanished within hours. I would like to think that the excellent reaction of the Afghan police and the total annihilation of the attackers made this story not sexy enough. Perhaps if a Westerner had gotten in the crossfire, this story would have seen more play.

Below are some pictures taken less than an hour after the attacks in a different part of town.

Note the terrified women fleeing in blind panic.

Note the men in equal panic, trampling women and children in their paralyzed terror.

Thankfully there were balloon salesmen on hand to calm the masses.

Afghans are not wimps. They take bad events like Taliban attacks in stride. Afterall, they've got 30 years of experience with really bad times.

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