Taliban Kills 7 in Kabul After Obama Visit

Afghan investigation team members assess the damage caused at the scene of a militant attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 2, 2012.
Afghan investigation team members assess the damage caused at the scene of a militant attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 2, 2012.

Insurgents killed at least seven people and wounded 17 others, mostly children, in Kabul Wednesday, just two hours after U.S. President Barack Obama left Afghanistan following a brief, unannounced visit.

A suicide car bomber and militants disguised as women attacked a heavily secured compound housing hundreds of international workers on the eastern outskirts of the capital.  Afghan security forces swarmed the area and regained control after hours of gunfire.

The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying it was in response to the U.S. president's visit and promised more attacks as they launch their usual "spring offensive" across the country.  U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker joined NATO and the United Nations' mission in Afghanistan in condemning the attack.

Hours before the attack, President Obama was at Bagram Airbase just outside Kabul to sign a strategic pact with his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, and deliver an election-year message on the anniversary of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden's death.

In televised remarks broadcast to Americans late Tuesday, Mr. Obama told the American people that the Afghan war is winding down.  He reaffirmed the transition in Afghanistan with U.S. combat troops completing their withdrawal and Afghans taking full security control of their country by 2014.

The president said the United States will continue to support counterterrorism and training efforts in Afghanistan, but "will not build permanent bases" in the country.  He also said Washington's goal is to destroy al-Qaida and "not to build a country in America's image, or to eradicate every vestige of the Taliban," objectives that would "require many more years, many more dollars and many more American lives."

The U.S.-Afghan strategic agreement pledges American aid for Afghanistan for at least a decade after the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops.  The two sides also have pledged to negotiate within the next year a separate deal outlining any U.S. troop presence beyond 2014.

Around 90,000 U.S. troops currently serve in Afghanistan. Some 33,000 American forces will have pulled out of Afghanistan by September of this year.

Ambassador Crocker said Wednesday the pact is the "clearest statement" that the U.S. is committed to Afghanistan through 2024.

Senior U.S. officials say the pact is part of a larger strategy to stabilize Afghanistan and defeat extremist forces in the region.  Another key element of the strategy involves Afghan-led reconciliation with the Taliban, which the officials said can move forward if the group breaks its ties with al-Qaida.

President Obama for the first time publicly acknowledged that his administration has been in direct discussions with the Taliban in pursuit of a "negotiated peace."  He said many insurgent leaders and fighters have shown an interest in reconciliation, but that they must cut ties with al-Qaida, renounce violence and abide by Afghan laws in order to take part in the peace process.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Mike
May 02, 2012 2:02 PM
There are no words to express my disgust at this kind of attrocity, and it appears that the "locals" must somehow agree with it or at least not actively oppose it. The Pakistanis and the Iranians will never allow peace in the region and we can't succeed against them. This is why the U.S. should not spend a single dollar or life in this region. Obama campaigned on getting the U.S. out ASAP and he did not.

by: Godwin
May 02, 2012 10:14 AM
That is seven gun salute to Obama - congratulations to the man who hates what is good and loves the evil that comes from the children of wickedness. Obama's love for islam is yielding it fruits - more hatred. And yet it is known the world over that islam breeds extremism so that any other walk of life that tries extremism is only mimicking the religion of hatred. What is USA doing in the islamic world?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle reports from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs