By Brett Daniel Shehadey
Special Contributor for In Homeland Security
Today, in Kabul, four terrorists dressed as women gained access to a next door residential area and fired rocket-propelled grenades at the headquarters for the Afghan’s Independent Election Commission. After a standoff with the police, the terrorists were destroyed, two policemen injured and no reporting of any innocent dead. [Another account said there were two militants instead of four].
Just last week, five fatalities resulted from a prior attack against the same facility and aerlier this week, another IEC facility was hit in Kabul.
On March 21, there were nine civilians killed, including two young girls in which teenage Taliban terrorists overcame the fortified, luxurious, Serena Hotel.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for this attempt in Kabul as well. Taliban objectives remain one of undermining the ‘foreign-led’ elections in what they continue to see as an American conspiracy.
The Taliban continues to terrorize the population into not casting a ballot through killings, intimidation, threats and propaganda.
British Deputy NATO Commander, Lt Gen John Lorimer, emphasizes that the events taking place in Kabul are not representative of the whole progress of the country. Terrorists are targeting foreign civilians especially hard and focusing efforts in high-profile areas to gain maximum exposure in their objectives.
General Lorimer said: “Is it going to be Surrey? No. But I’m certain that security conditions will be better than they were in 2009.” He also noted that “last year they [the Taliban] didn’t take any ground; if they cut communications or captured checkpoints, they were soon taken back.”
The UN is resolute, jointly with the International Election Commission, to proceed as planned in supporting and monitoring the Afghan Presidential Elections set for April 5.
Political anthropologist Noah Coburn lists some key requirements that are central to the future of Afghanistan’s democratic stability, including: an honorable exit for President Hamid Karzai, a smooth transition of power and a candidate selected that is “broadly accepted” by the Afghan people.
Everything depends on a peaceful transition of power.
Fraud, violence and corruption are inevitable. The trick will be to make it as stable, honest and uncorrupt as possible for the present political culture in Afghanistan.
Calming the boiling over of accusations of scandal or abuse is also important.
Democracy, if it takes root during this pivotal election free of outgoing President Karzai, will take generations.
Long-term stability of Afghanistan is both a regional and strategic interest of the US and NATO allies.
In all of this, Karzai has yet to sign the bilateral security with Washington; and it remains to be seen if the next president or ruler will do so either.
According to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF): “Over the past 12 years the ANSF was built into a formidable security force, receiving more than $53 billion in equipment and support, 160 aircraft, 100,000 vehicles including 600 new Mobile Strike Force Vehicles, 500,000 weapons and 200,000 pieces of communications and night-vision equipment, with more still being delivered.”
ANSF are the Afghanistan National Security Forces.
Commander of ISAF, General Joseph F. Dunford Jr. said: “Over the last nine months, the ANSF have proved that they are ready to secure the April 5 presidential and provincial council elections.”