Breaking: Massive Taliban attack on Kabul hotel

posted at 4:10 pm on June 28, 2011 by Allahpundit

In progress as I write this. Sounds … Mumbai-esque.

A group of suicide bombers attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul Tuesday, and fighting was ongoing with Afghan security forces, Chief of Criminal Investigation Mohammed Zahir told CNN.

A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahid, said a group of Taliban bombers was responsible for the 10 p.m. attack on the hotel, which is popular among international guests. There were no immediate details on casualties.

The hotel is located on a hill on the outskirts of Kabul and is typically protected by heavy security. A news conference was scheduled to take place Wednesday in the hotel to discuss the planned transition of security from international to Afghan forces.

The hotel’s power has reportedly been cut, presumably by the bombers. Why they’d bother doing that if this is a simple suicide-bomb mission, I’m not sure. Alternate theory: Like Mumbai, this is not a simple suicide-bomb mission.

Associated Press reporters at the scene heard bursts of gunfire and saw shooting from the roof of the five-story Inter-Continental hotel that sits on a hill overlooking the city. Police ordered bystanders to lay on the ground for safety. There was no immediate word on casualties in the rare, nighttime attack in the Afghan capital.

A guest who was inside also said he heard gunfire echoing throughout the building. Streets leading to the hotel were blocked and the electricity was out…

Azizullah, an Afghan police officer who uses only one name, told an Associated Press reporter at the scene that at least one bomber entered the hotel and detonated a vest of explosives. Another police officer, who would not disclose his name, said there were at least two suicide bombers.

The Times says there could be as many as six suicide bombers on the scene, and reportedly at least three are carrying light and heavy weapons. According to a Taliban spokesman, who took credit for the attack on behalf of the group, the attackers “are breaking into each room and they are targeting the 300 Afghans and foreigners who are staying.” Systematic murder, in other words, not indiscriminate explosions; presumably, they’re wearing vests in case they’re cornered by U.S. and Afghan troops and want to take a few with them at the moment of truth.

Why target the hotel? Multiple possible reasons. One: As noted by CNN, there’s a presser scheduled there tomorrow to announce a handover of security duties from NATO to the Afghan army. Preempting that by running wild in the hotel carries symbolic value. Two: It’s a soft target in Kabul, Karzai’s stronghold, not a military outpost in some far-flung eastern or southern province. That’s a message to NATO commanders that the battlefield this year might be a lot bigger than they think. And three, obviously: They want to capitalize on Obama’s withdrawal announcement to show that not only haven’t they been defeated, they’re still strong enough to wreak havoc right under NATO’s nose in a supposedly heavily guarded tourist spot. Just as I’m writing this, NBC’s claiming that three attackers have blown themselves up; no word on where the other three are or how many people in the hotel are dead. Stand by for updates.

Update: If the Taliban’s eager to keep up the pressure on Obama to withdraw, they’re better off targeting U.S. troops than soft targets full of civilians like hotels. The higher American combat deaths are, the more inclined the U.S. public will be to say “to hell with this” and support an accelerated drawdown. Conversely, the higher civilian deaths are, the less inclined they’ll be to support it, I suspect. Americans want their guys out of harm’s way after 10 years but they don’t want to abandon the locals, especially local women, to the nightmare of a new Taliban regime. Maybe the Taliban’s been sufficiently weakened by the surge that they simply can’t mount major attacks on military outposts right now and have to concentrate on soft targets of necessity, but that’s foolish insofar as it bolsters the case for drawing down more slowly. But then, who knows how well these cretins understand U.S. public opinion? If they’d given up Bin Laden when we demanded it after 9/11, they’d probably still be in power now.

Update: ABC claims that Afghan officials, including provincial governors, had already arrived at the hotel today in anticipation of tomorrow’s presser, which may explain the timing of the attack. More from Bill Roggio on who the attackers are:

Today’s suicide attack was likely carried out by the Kabul Attack Network, which is made up of fighters from the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, and cooperates with terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and al Qaeda. Top Afghan intelligence officials have linked the Kabul Attack Network to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate as well. The network’s tentacles extend outward from Kabul into the surrounding provinces of Logar, Wardak, Nangarhar, Kapisa, Ghazni, and Zabul, a US intelligence official have told The Long War Journal.

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The Taliban have an interesting negotiation technique.

rob verdi on June 28, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Obviously they don’t want us to go. Too many pockets are being lined while the US is still there.

Prayers to all the murder victims and their families.

pedestrian on June 28, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Wow! It’s a good thing we told them we were leaving, eh? Imagine how mad they would be if they thought we were going to stay and fight it out with them.

We have the best foreign policy evah.

Lily on June 28, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Don’t worry. Obama is gutsy and he is going with his gut instincts.

What an omen. He should let the Generals decide how to fight these disgusting jackals. Those poor people.. Damn!

Key West Reader on June 28, 2011 at 4:15 PM

According to a Taliban spokesman, who took credit for the attack on behalf of the group, the attackers “are breaking into each room and they are targeting the 300 Afghans and foreigners who are staying.” Systematic murder, in other words, not indiscriminate explosions

Less than human.

VegasRick on June 28, 2011 at 4:16 PM

And we’re negotiating with them… right?

Skywise on June 28, 2011 at 4:17 PM

So let me guess…..Obama’s next move is to hop on the first jet and go bow to the Taliban? Maybe an apology as well? Smart.Power.

search4truth on June 28, 2011 at 4:17 PM

Hardest hit, Obama’s respect as Commander in Cheif..

astonerii on June 28, 2011 at 4:17 PM

Obviously this has nothing to do with Islamic teachings.

GardenGnome on June 28, 2011 at 4:17 PM

President Obama’s hands are tied, he promised the troop withdraw with a clear time table.

Over tough objections from the top generals.

He don’t need no consensus, he makes his own call.

Sir Napsalot on June 28, 2011 at 4:18 PM

These guys are obviously upset that our imperialistic policies will no longer be creating new terrorists for them to play terrorist games with. I think that Obama will probably have to rebuild terrorist training camps in Afghanistan as a sign of good faith if we want this relationship to flourish.

NotCoach on June 28, 2011 at 4:20 PM

Obviously this has nothing to do with Islamic teachings.

GardenGnome on June 28, 2011 at 4:17 PM

I pray for all of the “good muslims” – all 6 of them.

VegasRick on June 28, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Such a religion of peace.

gophergirl on June 28, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Tet offensive?

El_Terrible on June 28, 2011 at 4:23 PM

I sure hope Obama gives a speech about this and makes his stance perfectly clear

John Deaux on June 28, 2011 at 4:23 PM

You put your surge troops in…You pull your surge troops out…

On a serious note–I’m sorry Afghan people, especially women. I’m sorry American families who will never see their loved ones again. Their loved ones who fought and died to free a people and avenge the deaths of our own. I’m sorry America. You have again elected a Democrat who cuts and runs, leaving scores of people to be murdered, because his own butt is at stake.

txhsmom on June 28, 2011 at 4:25 PM

Avenging ObL

Schadenfreude on June 28, 2011 at 4:26 PM

We better hold talks…

golfmann on June 28, 2011 at 4:26 PM

These must be those moderate Talibs I keep hearing about.

Aquateen Hungerforce on June 28, 2011 at 4:27 PM

I thought an earlier report (Herald Sun) said 60 dead in an Afghan hospital bombing …..

Sir Napsalot on June 28, 2011 at 4:28 PM

They really don’t want us to leave – that was a desperate cry for help.

Queen0fCups on June 28, 2011 at 4:28 PM

So they are deliberately targeting afganis? That implies that they are getting a jump on terrorizing the populace in anticipation of US withdrawal. Way to go, Barry.

Count to 10 on June 28, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Less than human.

VegasRick on June 28, 2011 at 4:16 PM

On the contrary, only humans are capable of such deliberate cruelty.

Inkblots on June 28, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Ooops, it was 6/25/2011

Sir Napsalot on June 28, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Make a deal with the Afghanis: give us a cut of your minerals, and we keep the peace. Otherwise we are gone.

pedestrian on June 28, 2011 at 4:29 PM

I’d generally agree that an enemy has some type of a game plan.

These animals? I’m not so sure. I think they just like boinking goats and sploding innocent people.

Aquateen Hungerforce on June 28, 2011 at 4:30 PM

Americans want their guys out of harm’s way after 10 years but they don’t want to abandon the locals, especially local women, to the nightmare of a new Taliban regime.

I wish I could believe this is true, but the polls make me wonder…

cynccook on June 28, 2011 at 4:31 PM

On the contrary, only humans are capable of such deliberate cruelty.

Inkblots on June 28, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Thanks but I’ll stick with my original thought.

VegasRick on June 28, 2011 at 4:31 PM

I guess the first question to ask when deciding who to vote for in 2012 is “what one thing did Obama do other than kill Bin Laden after considering it for several months while he was in office?”

volsense on June 28, 2011 at 4:32 PM

And the good folks (I mean that) here at HA continue to blow up the Palin/Bristol/Bachmann threads.

VegasRick on June 28, 2011 at 4:35 PM

They really don’t want us to leave – that was a desperate cry for help.

Queen0fCups on June 28, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Very much so. They’d like to fight us on their own turf so that they can go on killing thousands and costing us billions for as long as possible. Just as with the Soviets, they want to bankrupt America.

Inkblots on June 28, 2011 at 4:35 PM

Bring all our troops home. Give 2 hours notice, then turn it to glass.

SouthernGent on June 28, 2011 at 4:35 PM

Great time to leave, right? Sheesh….

princetrumpet on June 28, 2011 at 4:35 PM

They’re only doing this because they saw what they thought were gun sights on Sarah Palin’s Facebook page some time ago.

malclave on June 28, 2011 at 4:36 PM

They know they’ve got Øbama on the run, and they’re incentivizing his retreat.

petefrt on June 28, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Bring all our troops home. Give 2 hours notice, then turn it to glass.

SouthernGent on June 28, 2011 at 4:35 PM

As brutal as that sounds, it’s going to come to that or we lose here in America as well.

VegasRick on June 28, 2011 at 4:40 PM

If one Hindi hair is killed, India should green Mumbai retaliation.

*Ganesha akbar!*

Terp Mole on June 28, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Obama reminds me of that old man in The Road Warrior who thought he could negotiate with Lord Humungous.

Mark1971 on June 28, 2011 at 4:41 PM

1st of multiple soft targets in the coming weeks?

Oil Can on June 28, 2011 at 4:43 PM

Great time to leave, right? Sheesh….

princetrumpet on June 28, 2011 at 4:35 PM

More like eight years past time. Nation building is a fool’s game.

Rather than open ended wars of occupation in every Central Asian dirtpile, we need to take a sustainable approach to combating terrorist groups: drone strikes on training camps and the targeted killing or capture of terrorist leaders by special forces. The neo-Wilsonian fantasy of making all the world into liberal democracies is an impossible dream – and now it’s become America’s nightmare.

Inkblots on June 28, 2011 at 4:45 PM

Less than human.

VegasRick on June 28, 2011 at 4:16 PM

That’s what the Taliban thinks of non-Islamists.

Wethal on June 28, 2011 at 4:45 PM

The Taliban wants gay marriage.

faraway on June 28, 2011 at 4:45 PM

Obooba better get Mullah Omar on the phone and ask him what the heck he thinks he’s doing!

Akzed on June 28, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Obama reminds me of that old man in The Road Warrior who thought he could negotiate with Lord Humungous.

Mark1971 on June 28, 2011 at 4:41 PM

I call it the Star Trek:TNG effect. It can always be solved by talking to crazy people.

Please Note: May not work in real life. See Second Amendment

Oil Can on June 28, 2011 at 4:48 PM

This may be a warning to Afghan civilians as well as politicians – “We are here to stay. You are better off working with us than Americans.”

antisocial on June 28, 2011 at 4:49 PM

If the Taliban’s eager to keep up the pressure on Obama to withdraw, they’re better off targeting U.S. troops than soft targets full of civilians like hotels. The higher American combat deaths are,

Oh God Allah, geez…I had to stop reading there for a second. I know you’re an analyst, and a good one, but just reading words like “they’re better off targeting U.S. tropps…” and “the higher American combat deaths…” just gave me a chill.

You make a good point. My first thought was, are the Taliban idiots? Why not wait until Obama starts the withdraw, they already know he’s leaving. I suppose this could be a strategy to rush him along since he seems to have lost the fight in him. So much for negotiations with the Taliban though, wasn’t that why we were leaving?

Daemonocracy on June 28, 2011 at 4:50 PM

These people are sick.

conservative pilgrim on June 28, 2011 at 4:51 PM

Meh, probably Karzai set this up to keep the west staying and paying. The Bush era canard about Afghan women yearning to be free is getting rather stale. They are all Muslims and proud of it. No Afghan women asked for Afghanistan to be invaded and “liberated”, but it was all the empty headed dumb western f*cks could come up with for staying there. Screw Afghanistan and everything in it. Let them soak in the richness of Islam.

BL@KBIRD on June 28, 2011 at 4:54 PM

I suppose this could be a strategy to rush him along since he seems to have lost the fight in him. So much for negotiations with the Taliban though, wasn’t that why we were leaving?

Daemonocracy on June 28, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Could be a warning to the Afghans who have cooperated with the US. This is what is coming to you, unless you turn on the US now.

The hotel had a lot of Afghan officials there for the “handover” ceremony tomorrow; they’re likely targets.

Wethal on June 28, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Let them soak in the richness of Islam.

BL@KBIRD on June 28, 2011 at 4:54 PM

Indeed. Afghanistan will only be free when the Afghans themselves are willing to fight for it. We can’t impose liberal democracy upon them any more than we could force the sun to rise; and to lose thousands of lives and billions of dollars in the effort is inexcusable.

Inkblots on June 28, 2011 at 4:58 PM

Update: If the Taliban’s eager to keep up the pressure on Obama to withdraw, they’re better off targeting U.S. troops than soft targets full of civilians like hotels. The higher American combat deaths are, the more inclined the U.S. public will be to say “to hell with this” and support an accelerated drawdown. Conversely, the higher civilian deaths are, the less inclined they’ll be to support it, I suspect.

You’re exactly right. Problem is, the US Servicemen are harder to get at, and are trained, armed, and able to defend themselves.

The Taliban are bloodthirsty savages who are just looking to kill anything they can get their hands on. Or, maybe they know what they’re doing and want to put some political heat on 0bama for whatever reason.

UltimateBob on June 28, 2011 at 4:59 PM

BL@KBIRD on June 28, 2011 at 4:54 PM

No, I’d say a good number of Afghan women desperately want us there. They mutilate the hell out of them there, I can’t even read any more stories about it.

There are also the Afghan Christians who are as good as dead once we leave.

Then there are the tribes that make up the Northern Alliance, they have always been less fundamentalist and hostile to both the Taliban and the Pashtuns of Southern Afghanistan/Pakistan in general. They are no fan of Karzai either and are our natural ally. We should just set up a safe haven for them and tell Kabul and the South to piss off – women and children still welcome.

I am uneasy about just pulling out of the region because we will most likely just have to go back. I also would like for us to keep a close eye on Pakistan.

Daemonocracy on June 28, 2011 at 5:01 PM

My guess is that this type of operation requires some significant planning; and Update 2 sort of confirms my suspicion that this has nothing to do with O’s announcement of troop withdrawal, which just occurred last week. I suspect this operation was drawn up well before last week.

Secondly, I disagree with AP that the nature, frequency, or success rates of Taliban or AQ attacks will alter the gut decision to withdrawal troops by the date of the DNC National Convention. That decision was a political one made to energize the base; going back on it now would be equally stupid and less confidence-building than last week’s.

BKeyser on June 28, 2011 at 5:06 PM

THREE WAYS TO HANDLE A MUSLIM!

Scenario: A Muslim terrorist is charging at you waving a sword and shouting Allah Snackbar” and you are armed with a 9 MM Glock and you are a

LIBERAL: Refuse to fire and sacrifice your life because you know it was “our fault” that the Muslim was so angry.

REPUBLICAN: BANG!

SOUTHERN CONSERVATIVE: BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG.

MaiDee on June 28, 2011 at 5:07 PM

Update: If the Taliban’s eager to keep up the pressure on Obama to withdraw, they’re better off targeting U.S. troops than soft targets full of civilians like hotels.

But that’s a good way to get themselves wiped out without doing any damage too.

forest on June 28, 2011 at 5:10 PM

MaiDee on June 28, 2011 at 5:07 PM

The liberal would grab the closest guy next to him and use him as a shield.

Daemonocracy on June 28, 2011 at 5:12 PM

chilling..think about how easy it would be for the same thing to happen in a us hotel..on a holiday weekend..at the height of the evening.

DrW on June 28, 2011 at 5:12 PM

SOUTHERN CONSERVATIVE: BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG.

MaiDee on June 28, 2011 at 5:07 PM

Me – BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG, (replace magazine) BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG.

VegasRick on June 28, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Translation: We got or were really close to nailing some ISI jihadis.

Christien on June 28, 2011 at 5:13 PM

There must have been a wedding party there at the hotel that enraged Shitcanistans militant Lutherans. Maybe the jello molds were missing the grapes or carrot shavings?

Pelosi delende est on June 28, 2011 at 5:15 PM

I suspect an inside job: They knew there were no Gurkhas inside before they went in.

Christien on June 28, 2011 at 5:15 PM

I have friends in Kabul, one traveling there this week, not sure of the date.

Praying…

TexasDan on June 28, 2011 at 5:18 PM

Religion of Peace getting all peacey again.

WisCon on June 28, 2011 at 5:18 PM

chilling..think about how easy it would be for the same thing to happen in a us hotel..on a holiday weekend..at the height of the evening.

DrW on June 28, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Not very. It’s significantly easier to stealthily smuggle large numbers of Arabian and Central Asian militants, guns and explosives from the mountains of Pakistan into Kabul than into Cleveland.

Inkblots on June 28, 2011 at 5:20 PM

Not very. It’s significantly easier to stealthily smuggle large numbers of Arabian and Central Asian militants, guns and explosives from the mountains of Pakistan into Kabul than into Cleveland.

Inkblots on June 28, 2011 at 5:20 PM

I don’t know. We have a lot of drugs that don’t orginate from here in this country and about 20 million illegal aliens.

Oil Can on June 28, 2011 at 5:26 PM

So, it has been very very obvious for some time that the ISI is our enemy.

Why can we not clipbang some of those cretins? Why can we not splody some Paki ISI? What happened to the CIA that used to topple governments and send infographic messages into my head via my molars?

Aquateen Hungerforce on June 28, 2011 at 5:26 PM

ISI’s got their grimy hands all over this. time for us to GTFO, this hellhole isn’t worth any more American lives.

sbvft contributor on June 28, 2011 at 5:27 PM

I feel sorry for the women but still, it’s really not our job to save the world. You won’t get anything worthwhile out of the Muslims until they escape Islam. Bomb them from orbit and refuse entry into the West for all of them. Otherwise let them stew in the hellholes of their own making — I’m absolutely sick of the whole lot of them. I’m bored of Africa, Haiti and South America too. Phuck ‘em all, the best and quickest cure for their misery is to let them all die. There you are…..

Fortunata on June 28, 2011 at 5:50 PM

MaiDee on June 28, 2011 at 5:07 PM

Hahahahaaa!!! That was great!

Key West Reader on June 28, 2011 at 5:57 PM

Uh. Where is Obama? Has he speechified us yet?

/Oops! Fundraiser. Unavailable for comment.

Key West Reader on June 28, 2011 at 5:57 PM

Key West Reader on June 28, 2011 at 4:15 PM

Well, you know what they say: When the going gets tough, Obama goes golfing . . .

BigAlSouth on June 28, 2011 at 6:02 PM

Not very. It’s significantly easier to stealthily smuggle large numbers of Arabian and Central Asian militants, guns and explosives from the mountains of Pakistan into Kabul than into Cleveland.

Inkblots on June 28, 2011 at 5:20 PM

You haven’t been downtown anywhere for a while, have you? I defy you order a foot long BMT at Subway and NOT have to repeat your order 3 times.

“….yeah…some of the yellow stuff too…no…mustard, the Ye-llow stuff….yeah…thats it…

Or, order a BLT and the dude behind counter asks someone else to make it for you…can’t touch the bacon or something.

BobMbx on June 28, 2011 at 6:25 PM

Inkblots on June 28, 2011 at 5:20 PM

BobMbx on June 28, 2011 at 6:25 PM

Get out of the democratic inner cities, they are going to explode. When we hit the double dip, when little Bammie’s power brownouts begin, when UIC, Welfare and Food Stamps run out of money…

slickwillie2001 on June 28, 2011 at 6:54 PM

So much for pussyfooting rules of engagement working out.

profitsbeard on June 28, 2011 at 6:55 PM

Smart move by Barry telegraphing our timetable to leave. The terrorists took full advantage of the situation. Obama’s weakness is going to be our downfall if something isn’t done.

sandee on June 28, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Me – BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG, (replace magazine) BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG.

VegasRick on June 28, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Well….you might be outdoing our Libyan freedom fighting allies in over expenditure there.

BL@KBIRD on June 28, 2011 at 8:11 PM

Darken the sky with drones, glass the place, or GTFO already.

Uncle Sams Nephew on June 29, 2011 at 12:56 PM