Dispatch: Tactical Look at the Embassy Attack in Kabul
Vice President of Tactical Intelligence Scott Stewart examines the Taliban attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul from a tactical perspective.
Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.
Just after 1:00 p.m. Kabul time on Sept. 13 a group of militants opened fire on the U.S. Embassy using rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and light arms and we are going to take a tactical look at that attack now.
From the reports we have gathered so far, it would appear that the militants had occupied a building that was under construction in the heart of the Green Zone in Kabul near the U.S. Embassy and several other sensitive buildings. The attackers were armed with light arms, machine guns, AK-47s and RPGs. It would appear from the initial reporting that we have that the Taliban was able to smuggle the weapons into the construction site, perhaps hidden among construction-type materials that were being brought into that site.
Using this type of weapon (light weapons, such as assault rifles and RPGs) against hardened targets like a U.S. Embassy is really not going to create much of an effect. These buildings are designed to withstand substantial attacks by even vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, so a weapon like an RPG or an assault rifle is not going to cause much damage. The only way that this sort of a force armed this way could have caused any damage would have been to use their suicide bombers to try to get through the access entry points into the embassy, but apparently the security at those sites worked and they were unable to get into the secure facilities and ended up being pinned down in that building under construction.
The Taliban planners, when they were putting together this attack, would realize that weapons such as RPGs and assault rifles were not going to cause much real damage to the U.S. Embassy. Because of that, we believe that this attack was intended really to send a message, to be more symbolic in nature rather than to be a real, substantial attack against the U.S. Embassy. For the Taliban this is kind of a sensitive time. They are trying to show basically that they are a force to be reckoned with and that if the U.S. wants to find any sort of settlement or negotiated peace in Afghanistan, the Taliban has to be brought into those negotiations and they have to be dealt with. So an attack like this allows them just to send that message to Ambassador Crocker that hey, if you are going to try to accomplish anything in Afghanistan you need to account for us.