News / Asia

Taliban Attacks in Kabul Also Target Public Opinion

Afghan policemen fire toward a building that the Taliban insurgents took over during an attack near the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 13, 2011.
Afghan policemen fire toward a building that the Taliban insurgents took over during an attack near the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 13, 2011.

Tuesday's insurgent attacks in the Afghan capital of Kabul were aimed at high-value targets in an effort to influence public opinion about the direction of the war. The Taliban, unable to win militarily, seems to have shifted to terrorist tactics.

The coordinated attacks by small teams of Taliban fighters targeting secure, but high-profile sites in Kabul, have received extensive media coverage worldwide. But they are likely to have more of an impact on public opinion than to actually achieve any strategic victory.

The insurgent teams attacked the U.S. Embassy, the headquarters of the NATO-led security force, the Afghan intelligence agency and other areas around the center of the city.

Afghan security forces responded and, with some minor help from NATO troops, were able to put down the attacks with very little damage to Kabul, Afghans or foreign nationals.

In a press release, Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack while praising the effective response of the Afghan authorities.

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Siddiq Siddiqi said the attackers' only aim was to sow terror. He said Afghan forces are ready to repel such attacks whenever they occur.

"Their main objective and aim is to create terror. As they did today," said Siddiqi. "And they should be informed and notified that Afghan forces are much ready today, much equipped today, and they are trained today and if they want to attack us again they will face the consequences, and whenever they attack the Afghans they will be killed and they will be killed badly, as they were today."

The attacks in Kabul are the latest in a string of high profile attacks this summer, including attacks on the Hotel InterContinental and the assassination of President Karzai’s brother in Kandahar.

According to NATO spokesman General Carsten Jacobson, the Taliban are shifting to these kinds of very visible attacks because, with NATO having conducted a surge of troops, the insurgents no longer can win on the battlefield or hold territory.

Kate Woodsome interviews Ekram Shinwari, VOA's Afghan Service, Kabul, Afghanistan


"The insurgents did not shift or change their tactics voluntarily; they didn't have a chance. We are not seeing any more open operations in the field against our formations because they haven't got the capability to do it," said Jacobson. "So the terrorists did not succeed in their military aims, they succeeded in the attention that they were gaining. That is what terrorists do all over the world: they search for a high-value target, for something that is public, they strike and then they count on the public effect that they have. It is terrorism and nothing else."

With a drawdown of coalition troops already under way - its ultimate aim being the total withdrawal of Western combat troops by 2014 - the West also is focusing on training Afghan forces.

In addition to counter-insurgency operations in the country's hills and villages, however, Afghan troops also may have to conduct a counter-terrorism campaign. And part of that fight will have to take place in the arena of public opinion.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs