Quite predictably, the Taliban have threatened violent retribution for anyone who votes in the rerun of the Afghan elections. Last time they attacked polling stations and amputated the fingers of people who had voted. To underline their opposition to election, they have stepped up attacks. They began with an assault on a United Nations hostel and have killed six UN staff and seriously wounding many others.
KABUL — Taliban suicide gunmen stormed a UN hostel in Kabul Wednesday, killing six foreign staff in an assault the Islamist militia said marked the start of a bloody countdown to new Afghan elections.
Embattled President Hamid Karzai — who faces off against his rival Abdullah Abdullah in the November 7 ballot — ordered an urgent upgrade of security for international organisations after the militant rampage.
Police said a search of the UN-approved Bekhtar Guesthouse had turned up a charred, unidentified body in one of the rooms. Two security personnel were also killed, bringing the total death toll to nine.
Another nine UN staff were wounded as gunfire and explosions rang out across the city in a smart residential district near Butcher Street close to popular shopping streets favoured by Westerners.
The NYT piece quotes a police source saying they believed that the suicide-belt wearing gunmen were Pakistani. This, I think, would suggests that The Taliban have gone multi-national, or to put it another way, are consolidating as an ideological army which does not recognise established, yet arbitrary, national boundaries – not a nationalist one. This rather changes the ‘reaction to imperialism/national resistance’ spin groups like the StWC have put on the Taliban’s motivation.
BREAKING NEWS:BBC News24 is reporting that more than 50 people have been killed in explosions in a market place in north-west Pakistan. “The market mostly sells products for women, and most of the dead were reported to be women,” says the BBC.