Dozens Killed In Attack On Afghan Government Building Blamed On Taliban
Just days after President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw half of the United States’ troops from Afghanistan, a government building in Kabul came under an hours-long assault in which more than forty people were killed. Gunmen stormed the compound in the afternoon after detonating a car bomb at the entrance, in an attack blamed on the Taliban which currently is engaged in negotiations with American officials in a bid to achieve a political solution to end the 17-year war. It was the deadliest assault in the Afghan capital since a suicide bomber blew himself up at a religious gathering in November, killing over 50. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani responded by claiming that “terrorists attack civilian targets to hide their defeat on the battleground,” whereas acting Prime Minister Abdullah Abdullah asserted that, “every attack they [the Taliban] carry out against our people, our resolve is further strengthened to eliminate them.” But the words of defiance ring hollow to many analysts that contend American-trained Afghan forces remain unprepared or altogether unable to defend the country, especially as the U.S. prepares to reduce its military presence to some 7,000 soldiers. In November, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) revealed in its quarterly report for the U.S. Congress that the Afghan government currently controls or influences only 55.5 percent of the nation’s districts, the lowest level recorded since figures started being collected three years ago. Since the end of 2014, when the Pentagon declared an end to combat operations in the country, more than 25,000 Afghan soldiers and police have been killed.