Karzai praises Afghan forces, blames NATO for weekend’s attacks in Kabul

Here and Now

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said his Afghan security forces proved themselves during a series of militant attacks across Afghanistan this weekend.

And he blamed U.S. and NATO intelligence failures for the attacks even happening in the first place. Taliban fights have claimed credit for the attacks, which 51 people died in Kabul and elsewhere, 36 of whom were militants. But U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and other leaders believe a Pakistan-based group, the Haqqani network, was behind the attacks.

Douglas Wissing, a freelance journalist who has covered the war in Afghanistan and written a book entitled “Funding The Enemy: How U.S. Taxpayers Bankroll The Taliban,” said the Haqqani network collaborates with the Taliban, making who precisely is responsible something of an academic discussion.

“It’s somewhat of a porous barrier between them,” Wissing said. “I don’t exactly understand why we’re wanting to parse their difference quite so much.”

Wissing said we’re in a sort of neo-Taliban era: Groups like the Haqqani network and the Taliban working together.

Part of the interest in assigning precise blame may come from the close ties between Haqqani and the Pakistani intelligence community.

Wissing said that too, though, is something of an irrelevant question.

“I think the links between Pakistan and the Taliban are pretty well-known,” he explained. “The ISI (Pakistan’s intelligence service) has always been playing both sides of the game on this.”

The attacks, mounted in the heart of Kabul, send a clear message that the terrorists can attack wherever and whenever they want, Wissing said.

“This has proven once again that the insurgents have penetrated deep into the ring of steel. As with much of U.S.-funded development in Afghanistan, the ring of steel is proving to be substandard and pretty brittle.”

It’s no surprise, Wissing said, that Karzai would heap praise on his own forces and tear down NATO’s intelligence operations. But exactly how much of a role NATO actually played is hard to judge.

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