What the CIA Bombing Really Means for the U.S. in “Af-Pak”
As political pundits, scholars, policymakers, and media contributors are continuing their massive coverage on the “underpants bomber” (myself included), there is another terrorist attack that everyone should be aware of…this time in Afghanistan.
On December 30th, just outside CIA headquarters in Khost Province (in Southern Afghanistan), a suicide-bomber identified as Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi detonated his explosives and killed eight Americans in the process. Seven of these Americans were CIA agents responsible for the controversial drone-program over Pakistan’s tribal areas; not exactly a morale booster for the U.S. operations in a deteriorating Afghan war.
Non-withstanding the extreme sadness and anger that is currently seeping through the Central Intelligence Agency, the recent attack demonstrates a much wider problem; Islamic militant groups are teaming up like never before.
If there is anything to be said about this horrible incident, it is the fact that different militant groups with very different agendas will unite in the face of a common enemy.
I am sure everyone on this forum already heard about this development, but the Pakistani Taliban have claimed credit for the Dec. 30 bombing through a newly-released video presentation. The tape suggests that the killing of 7 CIA officers by Balawi was a direct response to the CIA drone-program in Pakistan that has killed so many top Al’Qaeda figureheads. At least the U.S. knows that the drone-program is working, or at least getting on the nerves of the Pakistani Taliban.
But this is besides the point. The real question here is who was involved. Unfortunately for the U.S. Military and the CIA, no one group perpetuated the attack on its own. It appears that the Pakistani Taliban supported the suicide-operation by providing logistics, and Al’Qaeda contributed fighters who were willing to conduct the attack. The Afghan Taliban- and the Haqqani network- have also claimed responsibility, given that the killing occurred in Afghanistan.
Details are sketchy at this point. But if one thing is clear, it is the fact that a number of militant organizations are working together to kill as many U.S. agents as possible. This is especially dangerous for the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, given the military’s expectation of an extra 30,000 troops to the fight over the summer.
Just when we thought that lone-wolf terrorists were the greatest threat to the west, traditional terrorist networks strike again with violence that is coordinated, ruthless and effective.
–Daniel R. DePetris
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