Taliban Losing Ability to Attack Broadly, Panetta Says

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 14, 2011 — Insur­gent attacks like the one at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan’s cap­i­tal of Kab­ul yes­ter­day indi­cate the Tal­iban are los­ing their abil­i­ty to attack coali­tion forces on a broad scale, Defense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panet­ta said today.

The attack was a con­cern, Panet­ta told reporters, but the Afghan secu­ri­ty forces respond­ed well. 

“Any time [insur­gents] can make their way into Kab­ul or into the cap­i­tal, that’s cause for con­cern,” the sec­re­tary said, “but at the same time, the force … respond­ed quick­ly, casu­al­ties were lim­it­ed, and we were able to basi­cal­ly defeat their effort.” 

Sev­en insur­gents were killed dur­ing clear­ing oper­a­tions, along with four insur­gent sui­cide bombers. Five Afghan Nation­al Police offi­cers and 11 Afghan civil­ians, about half of them chil­dren, also were killed in the attack, and anoth­er 19 Afghan civil­ians were wounded. 

A small num­ber of coali­tion forces were injured, but none fatal­ly, offi­cials said. 

Panet­ta said he was par­tic­i­pat­ing in a secure video tele­con­fer­ence with Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, the top U.S. and NATO com­man­der in Afghanistan, when the attack began. 

“In talk­ing to Gen­er­al Allen and ask­ing him for an assess­ment,” Panet­ta said, “he basi­cal­ly said that over­all we have con­tin­ued to reduce the vio­lence lev­el in Afghanistan, [and] we con­tin­ue to seri­ous­ly weak­en the Tal­iban through our operations.” 

Allen’s view, “and I share it,” the sec­re­tary said, “is that these kinds of attacks — spo­radic attacks and assas­si­na­tion attempts — are more a reflec­tion of the fact that they are los­ing their abil­i­ty to attack our forces on a broad­er scale.” 

The attack­ers, Panet­ta said, may be from the Tal­iban-affil­i­at­ed Haqqani network. 

“We obvi­ous­ly sus­pect that the Haqqa­nis were involved,” he said, “but we’re still try­ing to get clear evi­dence of that.” 

The Haqqani net­work claimed cred­it for a large truck bomb that explod­ed Sept. 10 near a com­bat out­post in Afghanistan’s War­dak province, he added, wound­ing 77 U.S. sol­diers and killing five Afghans, includ­ing a child. 

Panet­ta said he’s con­cerned about the Haqqani attacks because they’re killing peo­ple and because the attack­ers escape into a safe haven in Pakistan. 

“That’s unac­cept­able,” the sec­re­tary said, adding that mem­bers of the net­work need to know that the Unit­ed States is going to do every­thing it can to defend its forces. U.S. offi­cials have made lit­tle progress as they’ve urged the Pak­istani gov­ern­ment “time and again” to exer­cise its influ­ence over the Haqqani net­work, he told reporters. 

“We are not going to allow these kinds of attacks to go on,” Panet­ta said. 

The sec­re­tary arrived here today to par­tic­i­pate in the annu­al U.S.-Australia Min­is­te­r­i­al Consultations. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefence.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →