Eventful day


Kabul is a near impenetrable fortress of a city. The mountains that surround the city dwarf any man-made fortification. There really could have been no other capital for the Afghan people, a far cry from the naked capitals of, say, India or Pakistan. During the Soviet war, the city saw very little damage. The carcass that exists today was the product of a later time, when the Mujahideen were slugging it out amongst each other.
But those were the battles of conventional armies and militias laying siege to cities. In the immense entropy of asymmetric warfare, especially the sort that involves that most disarming weapon, the suicide bomber, there is very little that occupiers can do to prevent infiltration into a populous city like Kabul. But occupiers could at least control certain areas within the city. Yesterday’s attacks in Kabul were in upmarket areas. Apparently even that was asking too much of the Afghan and ISAF security setup.
Much egg on the faces of both the aforementioned. The Afghan internal security situation, at least as far as cities like Kabul are concerned (there were attacks in three other cities as well), was said to have been securely handed over to the indigenous Afghan security set up. So much for that. And this is while western forces remain in the country. When they leave, the remaining forces will be virtually at the mercy of the insurgents.
But this is no time for the government of Pakistan to pretend it is running a tighter ship than the Americans and Afghans. Yesterday also saw a daredevil raid on a prison in Bannu that set free around 400 inmates, including 20 dangerous militants. Amongst these is one of the militants who was a part of the group that attempted to assassinate former president Musharraf.
The provincial government is to take responsibility and it should hold the area’s police officers accountable. But Bannu is contiguous to both the Waziristan agencies. To treat it like just another district in the country, or even as a regular settled district in the province, would be incorrect. The military should be held more responsible for the attack. The police is not as well-equipped as the army nor trained to handle situations like these. If the militants could slip through the army, they obviously could pose an overwhelming threat to the police.
The Americans don’t have their act together. Nor do the Afghan army and police. Nor the Pakistanis.
Glimpses of the future, if that was what yesterday was, are harrowing.