U.S. Blames Pakistan-Based Group for Kabul Attack
Raising the death toll sharply, American and Afghan officials said Wednesday that the complexity and execution of the siege of the American Embassy and NATO’s headquarters in Kabul bore the hallmarks of a militant group based in Pakistan that has become one of the American military’s most implacable foes.
Gen. John R. Allen, the NATO commander here, said 16 people had been killed in the attack — five Afghan police officers and eleven civilians, including at least six children — double the number reported on Tuesday.
The militant group that he and other officials blamed for the attack, the Haqqani network, is a crucial ally of Al Qaeda in the Pakistani border region and has been a longtime asset of Pakistan’s military and intelligence services in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s military chiefs have resisted American pressure to go after the Haqqanis, whose primary base is in North Waziristan, part of Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Instead, North Waziristan has become a main target of American drone strikes conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency. Some military officials say the Haqqanis have not been hit as hard as they might have been for fear of worsening relations with Pakistan’s intelligence agency, so close are its ties to the network. The Pakistan military has done its best to shut down the drone campaign as relations with the United States have soured after the killing of Osama bin Laden by American commandos operating deep inside Pakistan.