This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Afghanistan, Agonizingly Decimated

"I have been to many attacks, taken wounded people out of many blast sites, but I can say I have never seen such a horrible attack as I saw this morning."
"Everywhere was on fire and so many people were in critical condition."
Alef Ahmadzai, ambulance driver, Kabul, Afghanistan

"Let's be clear: This is an intelligence failure, as has been the case with so many other attacks in Kabul and beyond. There was a clear failure to anticipate a major security threat in a highly secured area."
"The fact that these intelligence failures keep happening suggest that something isn't working at the top, and major and urgent changes are needed in security policy."
Michael Kugelman, Woodrow Wilson International Center, Washington, D.C.

"For God's sake, what is happening to this country?" 
"People leave home to fetch a loaf of bread for their children and later that evening, their dead body is sent back to the family."
Ghulam Sakhi, shoemaker, shop adjacent the blast site.  
Afghan officials inspect the area outside the German embassy in Kabul after the blast [Mohammad Ismail/Reuters]

There are many routes into Kabul, and supposedly well guarded, particularly leading to the green zone where diplomats and embassies tend to be located, as well as critical government buildings. Somehow, the truck driven by the suicide bomber and packed with powerful explosives managed to get by security check points. How that is even remotely possible given all the attacks Afghanistan has reeled under in the past year is beyond understanding.

Not only a breach in security, however, has been revealed with this deadly blast, but a lapse in intelligence and capabilities, linked to bureaucratic bungling. Good thing for Afghanistan that China generously financed a high-tech set of security gates and scanners associated with those gates. Its purpose; to protect the capital from just such large explosive attacks.

It had been delivered to Kabul a year ago. And it sits, unused, uninstalled, unassembled, gathering dust, being forgotten, in a Kabul warehouse. The interior ministry responded to a query through one of its officials, admitting that bureaucratic disagreements had ensured that installation was kept on a back burner, citing technical problems.

The sewage tanker with its massive load of explosives created a hellish carnage that destroyed 90 lives and wounded an additional 400 people. The explosion cratered the ground and sent tremors that were felt a kilometre distance from the blast. "Right now, thousands of our people are in mourning. Why and for how long do we have to suffer this situation? We want our leaders to ensure security in the country and if they can't, they should resign", stated a demoralzied shopkeeper, Enayatullah Mohammadi.
Security forces inspect the site of a massive explosion in a busy area not far from the German Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday.   Rahmat Gul/AP

And though the Taliban strenuously denied having anything to do with the bombing, claiming to censure the targeting of civilians, a clearly frustrated President Ashraf Ghani announced he was prepared to order the execution of 11 militants on death row in response to the bombing. Afghanistan's intelligence agency, the National Directorate for Security, has named the Haqqani network affiliated with the Taliban as having been responsible, acting with the support of Pakistan's intelligence service, which Pakistan, needless to say, denied.

Of the 90 people killed, most were civilians and as usual in such devastating tragedies, women and children lost their lives, along with Afghan security guards. An event no doubt celebrated as fitting to take place in the first week of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. All the layers of security, from personnel representing foreign embassies, the Afghan police and the National Security Forces in the Wazir Akbar Khan district, failed to detect, prevent or respond to the well-calculated attack.

The area, where the morning rush hour was taking place and which the bomber appeared to experience little trouble driving his sewage truck toward, had a five metre-deep crater gouged out near the Zanbaq Square. Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry, the Presidential Palace and the country's intelligence and security headquarters, all guarded by soldiers who received their training through American and coalition partners, was in absolute chaos.

This is the war that never ends. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, devastated by his government's failure yet again to prevent this latest deadly attack issued a statement that he "strongly condemns the cowardly attack in the holy month of Ramadan targeting innocent civilians in their daily life." As well he might, but to what avail?

Is it meant to shame the Islamic State? They take their inspiration from the Koran, so it makes eminently good sense that Ramadan would be celebrated by them through the mass destruction of human life.

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