U.S. Blames Pakistan-based Haqqani Network for Kabul Attack
Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, said on Wednesday that the Haqqani network based in Pakistan was responsible for the coordinated, 20-hour attack on the U.S. Embassy, NATO headquarters and other buildings in downtown Kabul Tuesday.
Despite Tuesday’s attack, Crocker said the planned withdrawal of NATO forces by the end of 2014 would “proceed on pace” and that the scale of the assault was a sign of a diminishing threat.
“If that’s the best they can do, you know, I think it’s actually a statement of their weakness,” Crocker said.
Four Afghan policemen and two civilians were killed in the attack, which included suicide bombers, rockets and gunmen holed up in a nearby high rise building.
The Haqqani network operated in the tribal areas of western Pakistan and has ties to both the Taliban and al-Qaida.
On Tuesday’s NewsHour, Gwen Ifill spoke with Patrick Quinn, the Associated Press’s Kabul bureau chief:
The New York Times described the scene in Kabul after all of the insurgents were killed:
Though the streets were once again open and street vendors were grilling meat and corn in the shadow of the building, there remained a still unsettled sense of insecurity among men who said they neither supported insurgent attacks, nor trusted the police to keep them safe.
“We are mad at both,” said Farid Hotak, who lives in an apartment complex across the street and seethed at the memory of watching crying girls run for cover. “At the Taliban for doing these types of attacks, and at the government for failing to prevent them. Fear and panic rules.”
Iranian Court May Delay Hikers’ Release
Despite President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s announcement that he would release two detained U.S. hikers within days, an Iranian official told Press TV that the bail process may take longer than expected.
“There are two judges who have to sign the decision for me to start the process of actually posting bail. I am waiting for one of the judges who has still not signed,” said Masoud Shafii, the attorney to Americans Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal. Shafii said it could be postponed by several days, pending the second signature.
Bauer, Fattal and fellow American Sarah Shourd were detained two years ago while hiking in the Kurdish region of Iraq, where they say they may have accidentally crossed the border into Iran. They were accused of espionage and sentenced to eight years in prison in August. Shourd was released last year.
Photo via AFP/Getty Images.
Car Bomb Kills at Least 13 in Iraq
A car bomb killed at least 13 people outside a restaurant in al-Shumali, roughly 55 miles south of Baghdad. The attack targeted local police while they were having breakfast.
In a separate incident, a gunman opened fire in Baghdad, killing two policemen. The gunman escaped, according to Iraqi officials. And in Habbaniyah, 50 miles to the west, a bomb exploded under a minibus, killing two Iraqi troops.
260 Dead in Pakistan Flooding
At least 260 people have died as a result of heavy rainfall and severe flooding — primarily in Karachi and Pakistan’s southern Sindh province — since August, with more severe weather forecast in parts of the country Wednesday.
An estimated 5.5. million are affected by the floods, with 300,000 living in camps. The deluge comes just over a year after massive flooding displaced 4 million people in Pakistan.
United Nations agencies say millions need vital aid to rebuild their livelihoods, and 800,000 are still without proper houses, according to a new report by Oxfam International. The emergency tent camps that sprung up outside the flood zones still house 37,000 people, and the displaced are becoming frustrated with the pace of recovery.