Taliban insurgents attack CIA station in Kabul

Afghan Presidential PalaceBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Taliban assailants launched an unprecedented attack against the presidential palace in Afghan capital Kabul on Tuesday morning, which included a targeted assault on a nearby command post of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The daring attack began at approximately 6:30 a.m. outside the eastern gate of the palace, which is located in Kabul’s downtown Shash Darak district. The heavily guarded district contains, aside from most Afghan government buildings, dozens of foreign embassies and media offices. Hundreds of Afghan and foreign officials run for cover as over a dozen explosions were heard near the headquarters of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense, which is located next door to the presidential palace. The attack reportedly began when a group of about four or five insurgents approached the palace’s eastern gate with a small track laden with explosives. As the vehicle approached the gate, the passengers jumped out and began throwing grenades, while the car exploded at the gate. Afghan security guards fled the scene and the assailants were able to enter the grounds of the presidential palace and roamed around for several minutes before they were engaged in a firefight by Afghan and North Atlantic Treaty Organization security personnel. The attackers appeared to concentrate primarily on three buildings: the presidential palace, the Ministry of Defense, and the nearby Ariana Hotel, which is widely understood to host the main CIA command post in Kabul. On Tuesday afternoon, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, told French news agency AFP that “the CIA office” in downtown Kabul was “the main target” of the assault, along with the palace and defense ministry. The attack occurred as nearly a hundred reporters had gathered outside the presidential palace in order to cover a press conference by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, which was scheduled to start at 9:00 a.m. Both journalists and officials scrambled for cover as “bullets flew overhead”, according to a BBC correspondent in the Afghan capital. The attack appeared to be over by 8:00 a.m., with the government claiming that all attackers had been shot dead. The police said that the Taliban assault team had managed to penetrate tight security by using a “fake vehicle security pass”. The Afghan and American governments have yet to comment on the incident.

15 Responses to Taliban insurgents attack CIA station in Kabul

  1. Pete says:

    America’s current standing in Kabul-Afghanistan seems to have many parallels to America’s standing in Saigon during latter stages of the Vietnam War. That is guerrillas have easy access to what should be the most protected sanctums of American power.

    In Saigon the Tet offensive in 1968 included a guerrilla attack on the US Embassy-CIA station.

    Now in Kabul Taliban guerrillas have attacked the diplomatic community – CIA station zone with apparent ease because for the Taliban its a one-way suicide mission.

    Significantly: “Afghan security guards fled the scene”

    This does not bode well for the Afghan Army taking over the defense of Afghanistan.

  2. Echoing my thoughts Pete. ‘Afghanistanization’ of the war is a classic repeat of the failed ‘Vietnamization’ of the earlier war and a political exit strategy. The parallels are striking, both are (or were) civil wars with intensive and deep enemy penetration of the government structures propped up by the USA. Also the ARVN (USA trained) south Vietnamese military collapsed after the completion of the American withdrawal. The one difference is, the USA negotiating to keep 9 permanent bases in Afghanistan, perhaps lesson drawn from the previous collapse but which will complicate matters considerably is my guess, as it becomes ever more obvious there is no end in sight to a war that has gone on essentially since 1979 in a society that is historically militarized

  3. Pete says:

    Hi Ron

    Yeah the US’s partial stay behind strategy looks problematic.

    As I believe there is an emphasis on US Special Forces staying behind and remaining active this may draw US public criticism because it is the Special Forces who usually suffer the highest casualty rates. High Special Forces casualty rates have also been the Australian experience in Afghanistan http://www.defence.gov.au/op/afghanistan/info/general.htm .

    The US, UK and Australian publics will sooner or later demand that the flow of body bags should stop, total withdrawals should occur leaving puppets like Karzai to sag on their own strings.


  4. Yes Pete, it is almost entirely a special operations component scheduled to remain, and those which are not, are logistical support for those that are. The other problem (other than casualties that is), is the criminalization of the USA’s special operations forces. These are the units where most of the American initiated atrocities have occurred. The press generated accordingly has caused all sorts of problems. Much of the underlying cause is melding the JSOC with the CIA special activities division with its ‘cowboy’ mentality, that and the gravitation of Christian extremists to the American elite forces who view the war as a crusade (as documented by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.)

    In the larger picture, there appears to be a catastrophic failure to assess the Afghan society as a whole. The central government is an alien concept in a historically decentralized tribal society and the corruption is resented by the wider society, particularly when evidenced on such a large scale. This is not conducive to any Afghan military ‘espirit de corps’ and parallels the lack of moral and motivation in the Vietnam ARVN.

    Category of ‘some people never learn’ (USA)

  5. ^ typo, I meant ‘lack of morale’

  6. There is a worrying difference between Taleban in its present shape and the Communist forces in Vietnam back in 1960s-1970s. The Vietnamese had Soviet and Chinese backing, and benefited from the global standoff between the US and the USSR. Taleban relies primarily on its own resources, yet they remain a potent military and politically force which without any doubt at all will small Karzai’s regime once the bulk of NATO contingent is pulled back. Taleban are indestructable owing to their core Pushtun constituency’s entrenched fear and hate of any foreign element, and when I a few years back did some work on the Tajik-Afghan border, I was struck by how blind this hate is – they have no notion of “good” or “bad” foreigners. So it seems to me the current NATO campaign is as futile as the old Soviet one in the 1980s.

  7. typo, I meant “smash Karzai’s regime”

  8. @Denis

    A former CIA Chief of Station in Kabul, Graham Fuller, agrees with you:


    “Most Pashtuns see the Taliban — like them or not — as the primary vehicle for restoration of Pashtun power in Afghanistan, lost in 2001. Pashtuns are also among the most fiercely nationalist, tribalized and xenophobic peoples of the world, united only against the foreign invader”

  9. Pete says:


    Regrettably for the Afghan people, and the US, Karzai on Drugs is a Pashtun which partly explains his schizoid nationalist “principles” of:

    – criticizing the US who fight and die for Afghanistan

    – on-again, off-again musing about negotiating with the Taliban

    – and regularly taking CIA money.

  10. Ronald, I think he put it very well.

  11. @Pete

    Indeed. I don’t know myself which is the more important work I’ve invested in the subject, analysis of the CIA underwritten Afghan narcotics industry (with its intimate ties to the Karzai family) or my satire lampooning the related military/political/social phenomena of a war endeavor that is a world class (albeit murderous) joke.

    A note would be Karzai’s Pashtun tribe is located north of and is isolated from the Pashtun heartland. He is not a mainstream Pashtun, as it were. He not only has problems, he IS a problem. One thing (maybe the only thing) he has been spot on about is, consistently flipping out over the numerous, unnecessary incidence of slaughter of civilians by American special operations (night raids, primarily) generating a recruiting propaganda coup for the Taliban

  12. Pete says:

    Hi Ron

    Karzai has even deeper CIA connections than the regular payoffs recently publicized.

    As a fundraiser for the Mujahideen during the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan Karzai was a contractor (foreign case officer or agent?) of the CIA. Karzai is likely to have had strong CIA links throughout his adulthood.

    No wonder the US backs him no matter what abuse he spits at the US – because he’s the CIA’s boy.



  13. Hi Pete, working back and catching up. I also recall Karzai working for the oil industry .. a CIA self- sobriquet is ‘Corporate America’, euphemism employed when the three letter acronym is not the best expression to employ in polite conversation- (don’t ask me how I know that, thanks)

  14. TFH says:

    I don’t know about the Talibans, if they are book pounding idiots like those found in the US bible belt I don’t have much patience with them. Otherwise I have to admire the Afghan resistance, when you said Afghanistan is where superpowers go to die, you really meant it! And good for you too, superpowers should not live for too long.

  15. Pete says:

    Yes well – there is the Taliban tradition that if a women is raped she can be stoned to death for adultery or perhaps a bowl of acid in her face. That’s all part of Taliban Sharia law.

    Its not even like that in New Joizy.

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