News / Asia

US Envoy Says Taliban Attack on Kabul 'Not Surprising'

Richard Holbrooke (File)
Richard Holbrooke (File)

Multimedia

Audio

Taliban gunmen have launched a major assault on Afghanistan's capital, targeting government ministries and other buildings.  The daylight attack came as U.S. and Indian government officials were plotting strategy in New Delhi for an upcoming international conference on Afghanistan.

The U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, and Indian officials had intended to focus on discussing joint strategies ahead of the special multi-national conference later this month. The London meeting is considered crucial for setting priorities for the 43-nation coalition and getting Kabul to better govern Afghanistan.

But the U.S. diplomat and his Indian counterparts were distracted by the latest reminder of the Taliban's capability to seemingly assault Kabul at will.

Holbrooke spoke to reporters in New Delhi, while the attack was still underway in the Afghan capital.

"It's not surprising that the Taliban do this sort of thing. They're desperate people, they're ruthless," he said.  "The people who are doing this certainly will not survive the attack. Nor will they succeed."

Holbrooke added he would not be surprised by further brazen attacks in Afghanistan, where he had just completed a visit Sunday.

"We can expect this sort of thing on a regular basis. That is who the Taliban are," he said.  "They're part of a set of extremist groups operating in the border areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan and they do these sort of desperate things all the time."

The special portfolio of Ambassador Holbrooke has been one of the few visible points of contention between the Obama administration and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government.

India has been reluctant to host him out of concern the envoy wants to inject himself into the decades-old Kashmir territorial dispute between Islamabad and New Delhi. But diplomats here say India needs Holbrooke to try to increase pressure on Washington's traditional South Asia ally, Pakistan, to crack down on insurgents on both sides of Afghan-Pakistani border.

Relations between India and Pakistan have been chilly for the past 14 months.  New Delhi has been frustrated by Islamabad's perceived procrastination on investigating the alleged Pakistani plotters of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack, which left more than 160 people dead.

The talks between Indian government officials and Holbrooke came a day before a regional security visit by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

There is a steadily warming military relationship between the two giant democracies. India has been supportive of America's anti-Taliban campaign but has not committed any of its own forces to the battle. Pakistan, which sits between India and Afghanistan, is nervous about any such Indian role. Indian assistance there is currently limited to rebuilding the Afghan government and civilian infrastructure.
 

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid