In a virtual replay of the 1981 assassination of the Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, the Afghan militants attempted to assassinate the Afghan President Hamid Karzai during a military parade in Kabul last Sunday.
The only difference between the two dramatic operations was that the assassins of Sadat were able to penetrate into the army ranks and the attack was from the army cadets participating the parade. In the case of the abortive assassination attempt on Karzai, the militants were not part of the parade but they were able to penetrate the tight security cordon around Kabul and stashed arms in a restaurant just some 500 yards from the parade ground.
However, in both cases the target of the attack were leaders perceived to be serving the western interests. Anwar Sadat had signed a peace deal with Israel that angered many in the Arab and Muslim world. Similarly, President Hamid Karzai, whose writ does not extend beyond his presidential palace, is seen by the militants as a symbol of western interests in Kabul.
Interestingly, the attack on Karzai came on the “Mujahideen Day” celebrating the expulsion of the Soviet forces by the Afghan Mujahideen in 1980s. And the attack was claimed by Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan, that was a leading anti-Soviet group. This group is led by Gulbadin Hekmatyar who was once one of the leading pro-US “Mujahedeen” leader. A Hizb spokesman said that the attack disproved Afghan government and NATO assertions that the Taliban insurgency has been weakened. “Afghan and NATO authorities this year repeatedly said the Taliban are on the verge of annihilation ... Now it is has been proved to them that the Taliban not only have the ability to operate in the provinces, but even in Kabul.”
Has NATO failed in Afghanistan?
Many observers argue that the NATO forces have not yet made any major dent to the Taliban strength and therefore they say that NATO has failed to attain its objectives.
Initially a sizable number of Afghan people were hopeful that NATO would soon be able to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan but after the passage of seven years with no notable successes, the attitudes are radically changing. The inability of NATO to deliver has disappointed many Afghans though the Afghan officials continue to eulogize in support of NATO.
Besides, the indiscriminate bombing have killed many Afghan civilians which in turn has also taken a heavy toll of Afghan patience.