Is the Taliban Looking for Inspiration From Iraq?
In August 2003, insurgents in Iraq, as part of a strategy of isolating the United States from the international community, bombed the United Nations compound in Baghdad, killing 19, including the legendary chief of U.N. operations in Iraq. It was a very successful attack: the U.N. quickly left Iraq, taking away a symbol of international legitimacy.
Today, gunmen overran and killed six U.N. employees in Kabul. The attack happened in a U.N. guest house used by about 40 foreigners, most of whom work for the U.N. elections commission. The New York Times:
The Taliban claimed responsibility. A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid said the attack was meant to warn people not to help in the Nov. 7 presidential runoff election between the incumbent, Hamid Karzai, and his challenger, Abdullah Abdullah.
“We have already informed that anyone who works for the second round will be targeted,” he said. “This is one of the attacks.”
There appears to be no sign that the U.N. will abandon Afghanistan, but the parallel is still ominous.