US embassy attack in Kabul no big deal: US envoy

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 23:25

Kabul: United States ambassador to
Afghanistan Ryan Crocker said on Wednesday that his embassy was hit
with six grenades in a Taliban attack, but played down the
insurgents` raid as "not a very big deal".

The attack launched yesterday lasted for 19 hours and
left 14 people dead in a barrage of gunfire and suicide blasts
targeting the US embassy and the neighbouring headquarters of
NATO-led troops in Afghanistan.

Crocker said at least six rocket-propelled grenades
(RPGs) landed in the embassy compound although officials had
earlier said that injuries there were limited to three Afghan
visa applicants and one Afghan security guard.

"This really is not a very big deal, a hard day for the
embassy and my staff who behaved with enormous courage and
dedication," he said in a pooled media interview.

"Half a dozen RPG rounds from 800 metres away -- that
isn`t Tet (a key offensive in the Vietnam war), that`s
harassment."

Crocker blamed the attack on the Haqqani network, a
Taliban-allied insurgent group with bases across the disputed
porous border in Pakistan that focuses on operations in
eastern Afghanistan.

"The information available to us is that these
attackers... are part of the Haqqani network, they enjoy safe
haven in northern Waziristan (in Pakistan)."

Crocker also said he thought the nature of the attack
showed a lack of strength among insurgents and paid tribute to
the response of the Afghan security forces.

"If that`s the best they can do, you know, I think it`s
actually a statement of their weakness and more importantly,
since Kabul is in the hands of Afghan security, it`s a real
credit to the Afghan National Security Forces," he said.

Yesterday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insisted
that the "brave" Americans working at the embassy in
Afghanistan would not be deterred by the attack.

Bureau Report



First Published: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 23:25

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