Sunday, April 27, 2008

Taliban Attempt Assassination of Afghan President Karzai, Parliament Member Killed

You watching this, Pakistan? This is how the Taliban "negotiate." Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai escaped an assassination attempt this morning by the Taliban but a member of the Afghan parliament, a minority group leader and a child were not so lucky - they were killed. As for the Taliban attackers, most accounts say that three of them were killed and three escaped.
Here's the latest from the Reuters article here:

Afghan President Hamid Karzai escaped unhurt on Sunday after an assassination attempt by Taliban fighters who fired guns and rockets at an official celebration near the presidential palace in Kabul.
Karzai, government ministers, former warlords, diplomats and the military top brass ducked for cover after gunfire sounded at the event to mark the 16th anniversary of the fall of the Afghan communist government to the mujahideen.
"It was coming to the end of the 21-gun salute. I saw an explosion and a puff of dust to the left of the parade and then heard the crackle of small arms fire from all directions," he told Reuters.
This account here from CNN adds some regarding the injured in the attack:

The attack also wounded more than 12 people, including a member of parliament, a Health Ministry official said.
The people standing did not react for several seconds, but security guards shielded Karzai and whisked him away from the reviewing stand. Other dignitaries quickly scrambled to safety.

Unfortunately, in my view, Karzai better get used to this. How many assassination attempts were made on Musharraf in Pakistan? Six? Bhutto was assassinated by the Taliban and al Qaeda. Karzai will always have a target on his back - but the eerie part of this is how close the Taliban came this time - the Reuters article doesn't play up the dead here very well, this was closer than people are going to think.

Let's take a look at Pakistan. The new leaders in Pakistan decided to enact a truce, a peace accord with the Taliban in Pakistan...exactly 24 hours after that peace agreement was signed, the Taliban sent a suicide bomber on a mission that killed Pakistani citizens. And just a few days later here, they have attempted the assassination of Pakistan's neighboring president.

The Taliban will not abide by any peace accord - they have one goal in mind and that is the takeover of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It really is that simple. And what's more simple is that we either stand together and stop them or do as the Pakistanis and bow down and hand it over to them. Your choice.

Afghan president escapes assassination bid

Karzai later appeared on state television to address the nation.
"Today, the enemies of Afghanistan, the enemies of Afghanistan's security and progress tried to disrupt the ceremony and cause disorder and terror," Karzai said.
"Fortunately, Afghanistan's military forces surrounded them quickly and arrested some of the suspects," he said.
The Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the attack, said three of its fighters were killed.
British ambassador Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles was standing on the front row of the dais alongside the U.S. envoy to Kabul.

The Taliban fire appeared to come from a building a few hundred meters (yards) from the site, a road which is blocked off for official parades, close to the presidential palace.
"Three of our attackers have been killed and three managed to escape. Small arms and RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) were used in the attack," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters from an undisclosed location.
The attack disproved Afghan government and NATO assertions that the Taliban insurgency has been weakened, he said.

Afghan and NATO authorities this year repeatedly said the Taliban are on the verge of annihilation ... Now it is has been proved to them the Taliban not only have the ability to operate in the provinces, but even in Kabul," said Mujahid.
"Karzai and his cabinet can't be safe from Taliban attacks."

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