Captain Ed thinks this gives Bush the political capital he needs to launch an attack on the new terror camps springing up in the Pakistani border region. Hopefully so, although Americans are sufficiently war weary that I suspect at this point they wouldn’t want Bush expanding the theater for any reason short of another AQ bombing on American soil. Besides, how much good would it do? Even if we take the camps out, they’ll just restart them somewhere else with plenty of new recruits energized by the violation of Pakistani sovereignty. The only lasting solution is for the Pakistani army to take control of the region, and Musharraf probably couldn’t do that even if he wanted to.
Now then. Did the Taliban really know Cheney was at Bagram? Two different spokesmen from the group claim they did, but there’s no way to tell if it was just lucky timing and they’re taking credit opportunistically. Per Debka, there is reason to believe the Taliban has tipsters inside Bagram; likewise, MSNBC recalls that a jihadi bomber attacked in the Uruzgan province during a “secret” visit by the U.S. ambassador last year. But if AQ has people on the inside, and if, as one expert on the Taliban claims, the attack must have taken days to plan, how do you explain this tidbit from the MSNBC story?
On the flight out of Afghanistan, Cheney told reporters that he had been in his room at the U.S. base where he had stayed the night unexpectedly after bad weather forced postponement of his trip to the Afghan capital, about 40 miles away.
If they knew he was at the base, wouldn’t they have attacked yesterday, when they knew he was going to be there? Also, if they have people inside Bagram, they must have known they’d have no hope of reaching Cheney in the secure areas. In which case, what was the point? To show the U.S. that they have people inside Bagram? It’s awfully stupid of them to tip their hand this way and get nothing to show for it.
Finally, according to the same expert I mentioned above, “This visit, although highly secretive, was known in circles in Kabul and Islamabad.” Which brings us to our exit question: How do we know it was Afghans who told the Taliban he was at the base?
Update: This isn’t the only story on the wires right now about jihadis targeting a western leader.
Update: Lefties lament the near-miss.