Afghanistan: Taliban Fighters Target Karzai's Presidential Palace
The mission in Afghanistan has taken many twists and turns. In it's initial phase, the stated intend was to pursue Osama Bin Laden and Al Quaeda and remove them from Afghanistan, where they were harboured by the Taliban.
Eventually this ended up in an extensive battle against the Taliban, with Al Qaeda withdrawing into the mountainous tribal areas. Tora Bora was to be a defining moment and Bin Laden was to be captured there.
In the meantime the Bush Administration focused on Regime Change in Iraq with initial success and the famous "Mission Accomplished" photo op.
President Obama stated that the eyes were taken of the ball and that he would concentrate on completing the job in Afghanistan. To that end he reoriented his strategy and is now in the process of deploying a surge of 30,000 troops, which General Stanley McChrystal stated was essential if Afghanistan was not to be lost.
It appears that Taliban has become more brazen since the surge was announced. 2009 was the deadliest for NATO forces since Operation Enduring Freedom commenced.
This morning at 9 am local Kabul time, the most brazen of attacks occurred. Taliban fighters penetrated several checkpoints and made their way into the centre of the most secure part of Kabul. With suicide bombers they caused major explosions in a market area and just outside the Presidential Palace. At least one explosion was confirmed at the gate of the Presidential Palace.
Loud explosions and gun fire could be heard for hours. A fierce gun battle ensued in central Kabul. The situation now seems to have been brought under control, although sporadic small arms fire can still be heard.
The Afghan Defence Ministry reports that at least 5 people have been killed and 40 wounded, including women and children.
This attack raises serious questions about the security of Kabul. The Taliban moved through several checkpoints and penetrated the most secure area in the capitol.
A Taliban spokesman said that at least 20 fighters had entered the centre of the city targeting the Presidential Palace.
CBC Newsnet reported that all Canadians were safe. No other reports are available this time to confirm other deaths or injuries.
KABUL -- Taliban fighters and suicide bombers fought Afghan security forces in a fierce gun battle in central Kabul on Monday.
Loud explosions of rocket-propelled grenades and bursts of heavy machine-gun fire could be heard for several hours. A huge plume of smoke rose from the area near the Central Bank, the Justice and Finance ministries and the luxury Serena Hotel, which is popular with Westerners.
Afghan television news reported at least one explosion near the south gate of the heavily secured compound of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The blast was reported shortly before 10 a.m., and Afghan National Police officers and ambulances rushed to the scene.
A Taliban spokesman told news organizations that 20 armed militants, including some with suicide vests, had entered Kabul to target the presidential palace and other government buildings.
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