Rabu, 13 Juli 2011

Intercontinental hotel in Kabul set on fire. June 29, 2011 12:45 AM Source: YourJewishNews.com/Abc.net.......

Intercontinental hotel in Kabul set on fire.
Published on: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 12:45 AM  

http://yourjewishnews.com/8016.aspxWe begin today in Afghanistan with the deadly and brazen attack on one of Kabul's top hotels, the Intercontinental in the west of the Afghan capital.

The details of the attack are still unclear. Estimates of the death toll range from 10 to at least 50 and it is not even clear yet that the security forces have full control of the area.
But six attackers are reported to have breached the high security compound and set off explosions.
There are reports of grenade attacks and gunfire and several hours later the hotel was ablaze.
The Afghan authorities announced late this morning that all that attackers had been killed but that statement appears to have been premature.
In a moment we'll hear a dramatic account of the developing situation from a journalist at the scene, but first this report from Barbara Miller.
BARBARA MILLER: The attack began in the late evening.
In Afghanistan that means dinner is not necessarily over and it's thought many guests at the Intercontinental were still seated in the hotel's large restaurant.
At least one and possibly several attackers are reported to have blown themselves up.
Several made it to the hotel roof from where they fired RPGs and exchanged fire with Afghan forces.
Electricity to the hotel and surrounding area was cut off.
As the stand-off continued NATO helicopters were called in.
Major Tim James is a spokesman for ISAF, the International Security Assistance Force.
TIM JAMES: It would appear that the three individuals who were killed on the roof were armed with suicide vests.
I can't confirm whether they fired on the helicopters. I can confirm that the helicopters fired at the insurgents on the roof.

BARBARA MILLER: Several hours after the attack began the top floors of the five-storey luxury hotel were ablaze, perhaps as a result of missile fire. That too is not yet clear.
For guests still inside it was time to get out.
Saiz Ahmed is an American citizen who is visiting Kabul.

SAIZ AHMED: We all stayed in our rooms until we heard ISAF - I believe soldiers, Afghan soldiers, speaking in English and Farsi and Pashto saying, "it's safe, come out," yelling, "fire!" warning us to come out.
At that moment the whole hallway was smoky. There was just dust everywhere. And then I saw the other guests thankfully just all in the hallway.
And then they made us walk out super slowly. I had to put my hands up, you know, and identify myself.
But after that they brought us down to the basement where there are all of - most of the other guests.
They checked us thoroughly, didn't let us leave, didn't let us use our cell phones.
I wanted to call my family. I even tried but I was told not to use a cell phone.
About an hour later we were let out.

BARBARA MILLER: Hotel guest Saiz Ahmed spoke to CNN from the bottom of the imposing hill on which the Intercontinental is perched.
SAIZ AHMED: Thank god (inaudible) I had my phone that my khalah gave me - my aunt gave me.
And so she was calling me and my family here in Kabul, family in America and the US Embassy contacted me once and they told - I asked them what to do. They all said just stay put - that's what I did.
So I think I should move because a whole bunch of trucks just came - military vehicles and I'm kind of the only one standing here. I'm moving right now to another location, once again.
Okay, I'm actually looking for my driver right now. And if you could also contact the US embassy for me. Let them know that I'm still here.

BARBARA MILLER: There are reports that some guests may still be in the hotel, possibly being held hostage.
None of this can be confirmed.
It's certainly the case that sometime after authorities had declared the siege over and the attackers dead the situation escalated with gunfire being reported again.
The situation might appear from the outside chaotic. James Brown a military associate at the Lowy Institute says he doesn't share that view.

JAMES BROWN: What tends to happen is that people see these events and sort of freak out and go, oh my God, you know, Kabul's going to hell.
But I mean this has happened in other major cities around the world - Mumbai, even London.
So it's actually not a bad response this morning. It seems like they managed to contain it pretty quickly.
And the other thing is that you can see how important these kind of attacks are for Taliban propaganda because they've got the media statements ready to go, their spokesman was doing interviews within 30 minutes of the attack being conducted this morning - Zabihullah Mujahid was on the phone to Associated Press and other people.
So they have their whole media plan behind these attacks ready to go straight away.

BARBARA MILLER: James Brown who's a former army officer who served in Afghanistan says there's a clear chain of command for dealing with this kind of event.

JAMES BROWN: Any incident like this that occurs in Kabul is firstly the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Interior will make the call as to how they respond to an attack.
The main force that they use to respond to attacks like this is called the Crisis Response Unit.
It's an Afghan police counter-terrorism team, sort of like a SWAT team, and they've got the main responsibility for responding first to terrorist incidents like these in Kabul city.

BARBARA MILLER: At what point would international forces be called in?
JAMES BROWN: They would be called in if they happened to have assets in the area that were available quickly and the Afghans wanted to take advantage of that, or if there were assets that they had, for example drones or sort of more technical surveillance assets that might be needed in a situation like this.

But generally the Afghans try and contain it themselves; try and respond themselves.

You do see often police and Afghan army units responding. That'll just be because, you know, the Afghan army happen to be in a close location and are able to respond, but mostly it's a police response.
BARBARA MILLER: There were some reports, not confirmed, that some US ground troops were there. Is that likely?
JAMES BROWN: Look, given the spread of coalition troops across the city it's likely that there'd be some in the immediate vicinity.

What kind of role they're in, whether in a mentoring role or a training role or whether they just happen to be moving through the area at the time I'm not sure, but you'd expect some sort of presence of coalition troops but maybe not as the main effort of the response.

BARBARA MILLER: Attacks of this kind do happen in Kabul but are relatively rare.
Earlier this month two policemen and a local man were killed in a suicide attack on a police compound and last month six people died when a suicide bomber attacked a cafeteria at a military hospital in the city.
ELEANOR HALL: Barbara Miller reporting.

  • rss

Helicopters end Taliban siege of Kabul Intercontinental hotel

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KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban insurgents, some of them dressed in traditional Afghan tunics and playing loud religious music over their cell phones, used the distraction of a suicide blast at a checkpoint to storm the lobby of the Kabul Intercontinental hotel late Tuesday, where they opened fire on hotel guests in a six-hour rampage certain to shake local confidence in Afghanistan's security forces.
When security forces with the help of helicopters from the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force finally killed the last of the attackers at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, six hours after they'd invaded the hotel, at least 10 civilians were dead, Kabul Police Chief Ayoub Salagngi told reporters. Police said eight Taliban died — seven who perished during the fighting, including some who blew themselves up with suicide vests after they'd been wounded, and the bomber, whose suicide at the checkpoint signaled the beginning of the attack.
It was without doubt the most spectacular Taliban action inside Kabul this year and was likely to unsettle a city that had already seen two other deadly security breaches in recent months, one at the country's Defense Ministry in April and another at the premier military hospital. By the time the shooting had stopped, NATO helicopters had fired rockets at the hotels roof and flames were licking from an entire floor of the hotel's upper stories.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed credit for the attack and said its target had been a meeting of about 300 international and Afghan security specialists who were gathering for a reception ahead of a series of meetings Wednesday.
But a hotel worker who asked not to be named said the attackers had struck too soon, if the reception had been their goal. The worker, who said he was manning the front desk when the attack began, said only about 30 or 40 of the expected guests had arrived for the event when the shooting started at about 9:30 p.m.
The worker said he saw two hotel guests — one from Turkey, the other from an Arab country the worker did not identify_ shot by the insurgents. He did not know their conditions and said he feared others might have become victims as the attackers moved out of the lobby to other floors of the hotel.
The worker said he saw perhaps as many as three of the insurgents when they entered the hotel. He said they were dressed in traditional "kamiz shalwar," the long tunic over baggy pants that is the traditional Afghan dress for men, and were playing loud religious music on their cell phones when they began their attack. Each was clutching what appeared to be a canned energy drink in his hand.
Police said others of the attackers wore police uniforms. One police officer who declined to give his name said that six of the attackers eventually made it to the roof, where they fought it out with pursuing Afghan police until the two NATO helicopters, summoned to help, opened fire with rockets.
It was unknown whether any of the hotel's guests had been killed or wounded. Ambulances were still carrying away the wounded as light dawned on the scene.
Mohammed Zahir, the director of criminal investigations for the Kabul police department, said at least six officers had been wounded.
The rare nighttime assault was likely to increase anxiety in the Afghan capital over the ability of the Afghan police and army to take control of security responsibilities, a transition that is scheduled to occur next month.
Hours into the siege, Zahir acknowledged that Afghan forces were having difficulty re-establishing control.
"The insurgents are resisting," he said. "The situation is not clear."
How the insurgents skirted the hotel's security was not immediately clear. But the front desk worker said he believed they had approached the hotel from the rear instead of trying to skirt the layers of security that greet arrivals to the hotel's main entrance.
The attack began when the suicide bomber exploded at the lone security checkpoint in the read. The others rushed in in the confusion.
Zahir confirmed that one of the insurgents had triggered his explosives-laden suicide vest early in the assault. He also said they fired rockets from the hotel at the nearby home of Marshal Mohammad Fahim Qaseem, the country's first vice president.
Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, said that "up to 50 national and international enemy" had been killed, but Taliban claims frequently are wildly exaggerated and there was no independent confirmation of that number.
Tolo TV, an Afghan station, said that more than 10 people had been killed or wounded.
(Shukoor is a McClatchy special correspondent.)

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  • Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Karzai brother's death worsens U.S. troubles in Afghanistan

Ahmad Wali Karzai
Ahmad Wali Karzai. | AP Photo/Rahmat Gul
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In the end, Ahmed Wali Karzai personified America's 
dearth of good options in Afghanistan.
He was a corrupt politico who became the kingpin of volatile southern Afghanistan through kickbacks, violence, family ties, and working both sides of the war — the Taliban and the West. He promised the U.S.-led military coalition that dealing with him would promote security, but it brought mixed results at best.
More often, his corrupt and self-serving methods ran counter to the kind of government the coalition wanted to leave behind, fueling resentment and earning recruits for the Taliban in their southern heartland.
His assassination Tuesday by a close family associate leaves the United States, even as it begins to draw down 33,000 surge troops, facing the very question that has bedeviled it since the war began: How to leave behind a southern Afghanistan stable enough not to become a breeding ground for the Taliban and other anti-American extremist groups.
In the short term, his death jeopardizes the ability of his elder half-brother, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, to hold onto the key region. Experts said that a tussle among family members and others was likely to ensue, possibly producing more violence in and around the provincial capital of Kandahar, where Ahmed Wali Karzai was killed in his home.
"His death clearly will create a power vacuum," said Robert Lamb, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. "There will be a struggle that arises in that power vacuum."
At the Pentagon, some U.S. military officials muttered privately that Karzai's death could improve security and reduce corruption. Of everyone in southern Afghanistan, experts said, Karzai reaped the most from the status quo, deftly both charming and stoking fear throughout a region plagued by insurgents and drugs.
Those within Karzai's patronage system benefited; those outside his circle did not. Officially, he was head of the provincial council of Kandahar, but in reality he governed nearly all of the province of the same name. For some years he was on the payroll of the CIA, and his personal militia, the Kandahar Strike Force, carried out a variety of services, including raids on the Taliban.
At one point, U.S. military commanders charged that Karzai was a key figure in the Afghan drug trade, an accusation he vehemently denied. In 2009, he threatened a McClatchy reporter who questioned him about the drug allegations, saying, "Get the (expletive) out before I kick your (expletive)."
He survived previous assassination attempts, including a 2009 ambush of his convoy. While the Taliban claimed responsibility for his death, Afghan officials said that it was the work of a longtime family associate, Sardar Mohammed, who ran checkpoints around Karzai's home.
Nevertheless, some U.S. officials felt they had no choice but to work with the man sometimes called the King of Kandahar.
"There was a disconnect between the U.S. words and actions," Lamb said.
Others worried about short-term instability in the region just as the U.S. is beginning to draw down its surge troops, many stationed in the south. The younger Karzai played a huge role in security in the region, appointing hundreds of members of the police.
"The United States condemns this murder in the strongest terms," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement. "We join President Karzai in his prayer for peace and stability in Afghanistan and remain committed to supporting the government and people of Afghanistan in their struggle for peace."
The death was a major blow to President Karzai himself, agreed Afghans, U.S. military officials and experts. The president relied heavily on him as the key power broker in the region, maintaining a complex series of relationships between businessmen, tribal leaders and politicians.
One of his greatest assets "was the fact the he was the brother of the president," said Khaled Pashtun, a member of the Afghan parliament who often clashed with Karzai. "His brother trusted him a lot and he was serving as bridge between the people and the president. Without him the connection between the tribal leaders and the government will be no longer as strong as it used to be."
Pashtun said that Karzai's influence went beyond Kandahar into neighboring provinces, and he suggested that his death could lead other political figures to drop their support for his brother's government.
The struggle to fill the void left by Karzai could include two controversial figures in Kandahar — Abdul Razek, the provincial chief of police who was a close Karzai ally, and Gul Agha Sherzai, the governor of eastern Nangarhar province who has cut deals with the Taliban and is a member of a tribe that rivals Karzai's.
(Jonathan S. Landay in Washington and special correspondent Habib Zohori in Kabul, Afghanistan, contributed to this report.)

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/07/12/117541/karzai-brothers-death-worsens.html#storylink=omni_popular#ixzz1RySUOFxZ

1 komentar:

  1. We stayed in all the rooms even have heard ISAF I think that the soldiers and Afghan soldiers speaking in English, Farsi, Pashto .It safe, come out yelling fire Warning for us to get out.

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