Karzai Blames Taliban Blitz on NATO 'Failure'

Attack on Kabul over after 18 hours
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2012 7:22 AM CDT
Updated Apr 16, 2012 7:51 AM CDT
Karzai Blames Taliban Blitz on NATO 'Failure'
Afghan President Hamid Karzai listens to speeches of a family member of Afghan civilians who were killed by a US soldier in Panjwai at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 16, 2012.   (AP Photo/Ahmad Jamshid)

(Newser) – Yesterday's 18-hour assault on Kabul is finally over after the last gunman was killed this morning, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai said today that the attack proves the "failure" of NATO and intelligence services. In his first statement after the assault, Karzai added that Afghanistan displayed its ability to defend itself using its own security forces, Reuters reports. The fighting claimed the lives of three civilians, eight Afghan security troops, and 36 gunmen. Another 65, including 25 civilians, were hurt.

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Others were not as confident as Karzai, the BBC notes, with one lawmaker demanding "a clear answer" as to why it took so long to quell the attack. In addition to Kabul, raids were carried out in three provinces: Logar, Paktia, and Nangarhar. The Taliban claims the attacks were meant as a response to NATO officials, who recently called the insurgency weak. "These attacks are the beginning of the spring offensive and we had planned them for months," a spokesperson says. (Read more Taliban stories.)

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