After Kabul attack, a fight for the narrative
September 14th, 2011
06:19 PM ET

After Kabul attack, a fight for the narrative

By Pentagon Producer Larry Shaughnessy

Six insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic rifles attacked the heart of the U.S. presence in Kabul, Afghanistan. They fired grenades into the grounds of the U.S. embassy, killed three Afghans and injured 21 others over a 20-hour period.

The six men held off a counter-attack by U.S., NATO and Afghan soldiers and helicopter gunships for 20 hours before being killed.

How did the U.S. government characterize this attack? "Harassment," said the U.S. ambassador in Kabul. "Far from spectacular," said the top spokesman in the Pentagon.

At the same time, U.S. and NATO officials pointed to the reaction by Afghanistan security forces to fight back. Early on, the Twitter feed from the International Security Assistance Force media relations team had comments from the secretary general of NATO that he was "confident Afghan authorities can deal with the situation."

"Once again, I was impressed by the courage, skill and fighting spirit of Afghan forces. The insurgency has again failed," said Gen. John Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan, in a statement.

If you figure the six insurgents were aiming to seize or destroy the U.S. Embassy and ISAF headquarters, it was a major failure, the Pentagon spokesman said. No U.S. or coalition personnel were killed and no walls were even breached.

"They were defeated and roundly defeated at the end of the day," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said. "It was far from spectacular."

Ambassador Ryan Crocker said it wasn't even an attack. "They were firing from at least 800 meters (half-mile) away and with an RPG, that's harassment. That's not an attack."

But for all the downplaying by U.S. and NATO officials, military analysts CNN spoke to said the Taliban did succeed in gaining attention, even if ultimately the action was stopped.

"Operationally and strategically it's not a big deal. But tactically the operation certainly was a success. I mean, it garnered international headlines," said Jeffrey Dressler, a senior analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. "It was just days after 9/11. And it demonstrates that even though insurgents aren't capable of taking over Kabul, the ability of them to project an attack like that into the city and have one carry out for 20 hours is certainly significant."

James Carafano, director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, said, "From a propaganda standpoint, you can't help but believe that what they are trying to do is to build up the narrative that Obama declares we're leaving and they get these attacks out there to say 'we're pushing Americans out the door.' "

Anthony Cordesman, the Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, sees the situation from a similar standpoint. "Regardless of whether the attacks achieve the strategic result, the attacks in Kabul and Kandahar and elsewhere have a very major media effect.The polls show a declining support for the United States."

U.S. and NATO officials have tried hard for two days to paint this as a success for the Afghan security forces, the troops and police officers who the U.S. is training to replace the U.S. troops who are now being drawn down.

"You have to acknowledge the strong response from Afghan National Security Forces and others," Little said. Crocker echoed that point: "Afghans should be proud of what their security forces did yesterday."

The public affairs officers behind the ISAF Twitter feed seemed keenly aware the fight was over publicity as much as a battle in the streets. Over the last two days it has sent out taunting messages to the Taliban, fighting the impression the Taliban had the upper hand.

As the fighting continued, one tweet argued "initial reaction time" and "not harming civilians" was what mattered, not how long the engagement with insurgents lasted. Another tweet, after the fighting subsided on Wednesday, directed at a Twitter feed believed to be from the Taliban, taunted, "does your boss do this" with a link to video of Gen. Allen visiting troops after the attack.

If the Taliban were looking for a propaganda victory, does that mean the attacks were a success for them? Ambassador Crocker himself brought up a classic example of an enemy getting a huge propaganda victory out of a battlefield failure.

"A half a dozen RPG rounds from 800 meters away; that isn't Tet," Crocker said Wednesday in Kabul. "Tet" refers to the military offensive staged by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong in 1968. By attacking around South Vietnam on the most important holiday in that culture, the enemy hoped to secure a surprise victory and end the war.

The attacks ultimately failed, but the magnitude of the attacks helped sway public opinion in the U.S. against the war. Two months after the Tet Offensive was launched, President Lyndon Johnson announced he would not run for re-election.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • ISAF • Kabul • Military • NATO
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  7. mohamed sucks cocks in hell

    fuk them, kill them all...all them raghead pieces of shit talibans, mooslims arabs pakis saudis...all of them...throw them in ovens
    islam is devil worship, war worship.....kill them all before they destroy civilization

    September 27, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Reply
  8. Ben

    The Afghanistan misadventure has not changed the world; it has distorted and defaced the civil and human face of the world. Taliban’s ability to carry out this multi-target and multi-location but finely coordinated operation in the Afghan capital lays bare the depth of the U.S.-NATO failure in the country. Nearly a decade into the U.S.-NATO occupation of Afghanistan no section of the country is secure; not even the heart of the capital. Apparently only six Taliban fighters kept Afghan and NATO forces engaged for over twenty hours in the Wazir Akhbar Khan district. Do these attacks suggest that fate of the NATO forces in Afghanistan is not going to be any different from that of the USSR? Shrewd Taliban strategists are employing the same tactics which were used to economically bleed the Soviet Union. Michael F. Scheuer, a former CIA intelligence officer, rightly depicted bin Laden as a rational actor who is fighting to weaken the United States by weakening its economy, rather than merely combating and killing Americans. Read more at:

    September 16, 2011 at 11:55 am | Reply
  9. oyvavoy

    This is going to be the largest earthquake recorded in history, 18.6 on Richter scale.

    September 15, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Reply
  10. Loren

    The unstated assumption is that a military presence, be it Afghani, NATO or US, is capable of stopping terrorist activities. It can't. By accepting the Taliban's assumption that these attacks reflect some extraordinary ability of the Taliban to strike, then we give them credibility. Instead we should remind everyone that the Taliban is trying to disrupt day to day living and it shows that it cares only about its own power and not the people of Afghanistan, which is, in fact, the truth.

    September 15, 2011 at 10:12 am | Reply
    • Mekhong Kurt

      Loren, I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, our voices are drowned out by all the noise across the media spectrum - all of it.

      September 18, 2011 at 2:56 am | Reply
  11. Sandip

    This crap from Pakistan won't stop till the fountainhead of corruption is drained. And that is the Pakistan military. US has made a big mistake by replenishing their stocks of weapons. This is an incorrigible army that needs to be degraded before they will see sense. The best thing would now be to hand over all security duties to Afghans, get out of Afghanistan and then go after piecemeal degradation of Pakistan military. Once US proves that it is serious about Pakistan military, all this nonsense from Pakistan will stop forthwith.

    September 15, 2011 at 9:26 am | Reply
  12. Gene

    If you fight Americans, you're gonna die. Period. If you try to attack our embassy, you're gonna die. Period. Get used to it. You won't be around to enjoy your "twitter" success, and the virgins are gonna get real old real fast.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:14 am | Reply
    • elnyka

      Err, it wasn't the insurgents who were doing the twittering. It was the ISAF (as the article clearly says and for anyone who can read to see.) So I'm not sure what the hell you mean by "enjoy your 'twitter' victory" because it seems aimed at the insurgents, but since they weren't the ones doing it (and the ISF tweets never proclaimed victory for them), your comment makes as much sense as saying that 2+2=5.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:40 am | Reply
      • stevetags

        "Twitter feed believed to be from the Taliban, taunted, "does your boss do this"..." 2 + 2=4

        September 15, 2011 at 9:17 am |
      • kman

        Directed AT a twitter feed believed to be from the Taliban...arguing semantics and you haven't correctly disseminated the material.Sigh.

        September 15, 2011 at 9:43 am |
      • Chris Top Her

        So elnyka how does it feel to be PWNED not once but twice. Heed your own advice and "Jesus, can't you read" before you post.

        September 15, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  13. Ryan we have Al Queda on twitter...

    Whats next...i gotta fight them in Empires and Allies on Facebook?

    September 15, 2011 at 6:40 am | Reply
    • elnyka

      It wasn't Al Qaeda doing the twitter, it was the ISAF. Jesus, can't you read?

      September 15, 2011 at 8:37 am | Reply
      • OB

        Can you read? The ISAF feed was "directed at a Twitter feed believed to be from the Taliban". Calm down my man.

        September 15, 2011 at 9:23 am |
      • Laku Noc clearly states that ISAF sent a tweet to an alleged Taliban account...can YOU read?

        "directed at a Twitter feed believed to be from the Taliban"

        September 15, 2011 at 9:26 am |
  14. John_bond

    Surprising Video for an american,who thought Pakistan is all about bombing

    September 15, 2011 at 6:19 am | Reply
  15. noislamhere

    I'm tired of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every
    day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters,
    wives and daughters for their family "honour"; of Muslims rioting over
    some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because
    they aren't "believers"; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of
    Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for "adultery"; of
    Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of
    Allah, because the Qur'an and Shari'a law tells them to.

    I'm tired of being told that out of "tolerance for other cultures" we
    must let Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries use our oil money to
    fund mosques and mandrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in Australia,
    New Zealand, UK, America and Canada, while no one from these countries
    are allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi
    Arabia or any other Arab country to teach love and tolerance..

    September 15, 2011 at 5:39 am | Reply
    • Elizabeth

      I'm tired of being a US citizen yet having to pretend I'm Canadian when I travel internationally because of ignorant comments that group ALL Muslims as one. There is violence in my country everyday against our own citizens that no longer makes national nor local news because we have become desensitized to crime as it is like a national pastime. What you view as slight offenses are actually your rights that are protected by being a US citizen. The Muslims that are protesting these "slight" offenses are actually allies towards progressive nations, basic human rights, and anti-terrorist states. So before spouting off that you are tired of being told of that "Islam is a religion of peace" perhaps you should consider yourself lucky that you have had such luxuries delivered to you and you do not have to create your own "peace" by protesting such slight offenses as overt terrorism at your doorstep, denial of civil rights, violent, oppressive governments... and btw - there is plenty of hate preaching domestically.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:49 am | Reply
    • sgtcrunk678

      Im not a muslim or christian. Please dont confuse being muslim (a person who believes in Islam) with a individual's actions. When people are murdered in other countries we dont say, "That christian or that jew killed someone",.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:57 am | Reply
      • Mekhong Kurt

        sgtcrunk678: EXACTLY!

        Wonder what these nitwits would say about the KKK's activities of yore - urged on by dimwit self-proclaimed "Christian" leaders?

        Oh - but that's DIFFERENT!

        I forgot, excuse me.

        I make the same point all the time - to little avail - if any.

        September 18, 2011 at 3:00 am |
    • Matrixx

      I think you wre brainwashed that Islam is a religion of hate and not peace. In fact Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan brain washed youngsters that American hate muslims and want to destroy Islam. In fact both are preaching wrong and brain washed people in wrong ways. Islam is peace and teach moral and never preach hatred. In fact those who commits crime are called criminals and terrorist. Terrorist and criminals have no religon and no belief. Also americans never hate muslims and wants to destroy Islam. But in facts there are some groups in American who preach hatred against islam. Also we have some groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan who preach hatred. We can not judge a book with it is cover.

      September 15, 2011 at 9:30 am | Reply
    • Mekhong Kurt

      Do you actually KNOW any Muslims? I'm an American raised Christian, and I've lived abroad in East and Southeast Asia for a quarter of a century - and I DO have Muslim friends. Pay attention now: EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM HATE THAT EXTREMIST CRAP. One friend who went to the same mosque for over 40 years demanded her imam to condemn the 911 attacks - and when he refused, she went on the offensive, quitting that mosque, writing letters to the editor, urging fellow Muslims to disown idiot like him, and so on.

      Get out more.

      September 30, 2011 at 7:44 am | Reply
  16. RockSolid

    Why dont you American get the hell off from Afghanistan. The freedom fighters are winning the game and dont push yourself to face the fate as the Soviets did after the war.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:42 am | Reply
    • Mike

      We need to drop the bomb already. death to Islam I look fwd to doing my part in the war.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:35 am | Reply
      • Mekhong Kurt

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        April 5, 2012 at 4:46 am |
    • noislamhere

      why dont you tell your military that? they are the ones who insist we stay to help combat the idiot terrorists whose peaceful islam religion harms their own people. do you think our soldiers have nothing better to do and would rather be there than home on USA soil. do you think we are there just to pass time? It is your leaders/military who will shame us for leaving . so get off CNN and go join your military and help USA to get outta there.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:41 am | Reply
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  18. oyvavoy

    This is going to be the largest earthquake recorded in history, 18.6 on Richter scale.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Reply
  19. guidedtouch

    did you see that war in afghanistan? I saw it yesterday, in 3d

    September 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Reply

      Look i agree with most of what you said earlier. I just had to create another account using your name to mess with you LOL

      September 14, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Reply
    • Wzrd1

      Pity that we let the Afghans FEEL their way through, rather than have our men WALK them through.
      20 hours would turn into 4 hours at worst.
      But, such is learning...
      So, from the old Al Qaeda attacks, where 1000 at a shot died nearby, whilst STILL missing the embassy, an anchor of INTERNATIONAL LAW, they instead try to harm everyone nearby, as at 800 meters, hell, 600 meters, the AK-47 is pretty much useless.
      If ALL had Dragonov rifles, I'd respect them a LITTLE. VERY little.
      It's like a 2 year old fighting against mommy and daddy.

      September 15, 2011 at 12:11 am | Reply
  20. guidedtouch

    i have a belly button

    September 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Reply
  21. guidedtouch

    dem ameriGUNS just dont know. they people think they are free because cnn and fox says so, but i saw this thing on youtube n u guys shuld stop being puppets and listen to youtube. afghanistan country conquer all, u no conquer

    September 14, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Reply
    • Wzrd1

      Sugarbumps, I WAS there. For nearly 5 years. I've BEEN up front.
      Do you REALLY want to play THAT game? Where 99% of the populace doesn't care at all?
      Where pure thuggery wins, until I and my teams came to town and pee on their parades?
      Where your compatriots RAN to myself and my team to kick YOU out?
      Do you REALLY want to play that game?
      The game of REALITY.

      September 15, 2011 at 12:14 am | Reply
  22. iwatchu

    so the modern equivalent of 'jibing' each other on the radio/walkie news! why are we so fascinated by...the OBVIOUS manifestation of technology, you were bound to have something like twitter, like being bound to having a two-way radio whereby people simply CNN run by a bunch of luddites? They still think the mouse is a BIG

    Oh wait, right, this is CNN, their pockets are lined with AD kickback from twitter and FB.....forgot, any chance to 'angle' in a 'world' event whereby those two channels of OBVIOUS communication in todays age, like it's the found forgotten realm or King Tut or the fountain or youth, no matter how completely insignificant to the events they may be...will sensationalize their presence.

    Oh, and your dumba** "Post" button still says, "Publicar"....brown nosing the spanish contingent on an English speaking site.....nice...

    September 14, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Reply
    • Wzrd1

      Erm, dud, and I MEAN dud, go seek mental health care professional assistance.
      THIS is about a pathetic attempt of an attack, where BEFORE, thousands would be casualties, today, a dozen and change.
      Net loss, the Taliban and Al Qaeda is pretty much non-existent.

      September 15, 2011 at 12:16 am | Reply
  23. guidedtouch

    i m a moron who tinks imma speshul n coo for tryn to be smarty on the webnets, lulz

    September 14, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Reply
  24. wilbur

    A Twitter attack omg? Look, if you cannot stand the E-Heat get the heck out of E-Hiroshima.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Reply
  25. oyvavoy

    We all love this country but let's be in denial. Denial won't change a thing.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Reply
    • Frangible

      The central focus of the Leftard belief system, in any situation, is advocacy for whichever option would be the least advantageous for Western nations/culture/people. This is the only constant, fixed position of Leftards. To the modern day, Western Leftard, everything else (principles, allies, racism, anti-semitism, etc.) is flexible.

      Ideologically, Leftards are not strictly 'leftists', and differ distinctly from original Communist/Marxist thought and beliefs. Leftards are a modern, Western phenomena that has arisen in the West since the Cold War defeat of the (original) Marxist/Communist ideology (in the form of the USSR and her satellite states).

      While Marxism/Communism arose from the (19th century) observed exploitation of many of the working poor in the wake of the industrial revolution, and had a political platform that involved actual (well-meaning) goals and ideological principles two which Communists generally at least claimed to stick, Leftards do not have any fixed principles or grand plan. They are furious, angry nihilists, who 20 years ago saw their dreams for a Communist utopia go up in smoke.

      All that remains is hate. And fa*****y-ironic, because most of them originally joined up with the vauge idea that it would get them laid. Many go on to form self righteous blogs such as "Propagandalalaland."

      September 14, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Reply
      • uMad?

        What in god's name are you rambling on about? Why don't you shut up and go have a drink or get laid or something? Jesus Christ, I don't much like liberals myself, but seriously... you sound like a freakin nutjob...

        September 14, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  26. tim

    If you're calling this a victory you've apparently hit your head. The taliban would have to gain control of a valued piece of real estate, Which they did not do. We are in control of all tactical spots in the cities therefore making us the victors. Of course they will occasionally attack us we are in their country its only natural. But to say 6 guys shooting people is a victory is downright retarded.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Reply
    • The Afghan

      Exactly. It's no more a victory than a mob boss who has to live the rest of his life in jail because he failed to overthrow a local police captain. The comparisons of the Taliban should be more in line to LA gangs than that of the people that fought the Soviets. The Taliban are hardly interested in liberation, and if you failed to realize that from the consequences of their rule when they were in power, then you're a moron.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Reply
    • Frangible

      The US never lost a single battle in Vietnam. What lost the war was liberals at home stabbing the troops in the back. Just like with Tet, the goal of this propaganda is for liberals in the US to undermine us from within. And CNN does a good job of helping the Taliban here in not explicitly stating the attackers were Pakistani, creating an overall implication in the article of an attack by Afghans which is not the case at all.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Reply
  27. oyvavoy

    Let's stop kidding ourself. As I mentioned, never underestimate your enemy. The Afghans defeated the Soviets, the British, the Persians and the Greek before them.
    This war is already lost

    September 14, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Reply
    • Frangible

      Spamming doesn't make you less of an idiot. What part of "the attackers were Pakistani" did you not understand?

      September 14, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Reply
    • The Afghan

      Ignorance of history is not an excuse to make loaded statements. My suggestion to you is to more thoroughly examine the differences between wars of conquest and what the country of Afghanistan is doing now, with US support- and I don't mean basing that off of Hollywood's version of history.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Reply
    • rik

      No this war is not lost, in fact this is not a war at all just a police action. There is a handful of inept illiterate brainwashed Taliban pawns that do stupid things but do not even have the capability to make one bullet.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Reply
  28. The Afghan

    Afghanistan is not fighting the US. It is radicals that are fighting the US AND Afghanistan. "learn history"- perhaps take a dosage of your own wisdom.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Reply
    • Frangible

      The problem is the "undocumented freedom fighters" coming across the border and entering Afghanistan illegally from Pakistan. But I guess they're just doing the jobs that Afghans didn't want to do, so it's ok.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Reply
    • guidedtouch

      Which side has the right to rule Afganistan? The northern alliance or the taliban? Bonus question AFGAN. (100 pts) which side did the US take against the soviet aggression? Was our decision then for the benefit of the Afganies? if so how did that dynamic change?

      September 14, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Reply
      • The Afghan

        You're contradicting yourself. You preach against conquest, yet insinuate the US had no right to protect a country against foreign conquest. You indulge in political rhetoric, yet forget that you keep trying to make a point about "learn for yourself and don't be drones to the political system" At this point, you're just playing devil's advocate, and doing a horrible job at it, as it's very easy to poke holes in your statements.

        Also, if you're going to try to play battle of the intelligence, learn how to use proper grammar and spell a name that's right in front of you. Thanks.

        September 14, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
      • guidedtouch

        Clearly not a response. are just a trolling "talking point". do you think Cnn will read your words of wit and ask you for an interview? "hey if I take the side of CNN, maybe they will think I am great". as for me, I just speak the truth though it may hurt. I need no accolades.

        September 14, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • wilbur

      It is just the Crusades of the 11th thru 13th century they never ended.

      September 14, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Reply
  29. dale

    If you were left up to the Afghan military and police, those five Taliban militants would have taken the entire compound.

    They all have an intelligence just above a chimpanzee, just some of the chimpanzees have more drive and the others that the Taliban.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Reply
    • Amazed

      Wow not only was your comment insanely racist and ignorant, it was done with horrible english and making no sense at the end. I'm amazed you gotta be a true southern hick.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Reply
  30. John

    Too bad Afghanistan. You fight our occupation, you go the way of Vietnam, Somalia, North Korea, Cuba ...

    The country that didn't fight us: Germany, South Korea, Japan, Panama ...

    Learn history or be history.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Reply
    • BA

      You're accurate except for Vietnam. I don't know if you've been to Asia or know anything about Vietnam, but their economy is booming, foreign investors are pouring in. it's no China, China's an economic T-Rex, but Vietnam is making big strides.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  31. Republican

    The obvious answer to this problem is to lower taxes on the corporate wealthy.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Reply
  32. oyvavoy

    never underestimate your enemy. The Afghans defeated the Soviets, the British, the Persians and the Greek before them.
    This war is already lost

    September 14, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Reply
    • Frangible

      I guess it's a good thing we're fighting Pakistanis and not Afghans, then.

      You do know it was Pakistanis that attacked the embassy, don't you?

      September 14, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Reply
    • The Afghan

      Remember the difference now- that Afghanistan is its own country, and was at war with itself before the US joined. That is why the US isn't like those countries that failed. We can't fail, because we are not conquering Afghanistan. We are helping Afghanistan fight against the injustices of their own people.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Reply
      • guidedtouch

        We do nothing that doesnt benefit the corporate world. we are protecting a pipeline running from russia to the gulf. We are getting the opium trade back in business. do more research then Cnn and foxnews. The corporate media only benefits itself. if you want to know whats happening. FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF.

        September 14, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
      • The Afghan

        Perhaps you just shouldn't be a drone for conspiracists with their whole "don't believe anything the government tells you, but everything you hear on the internet is okay"

        Please, take your trollish assumptions and find an idiot who will believe everything you say as if that makes them an individual.

        September 14, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  33. Frangible

    Haha, Ambassador Crocker? Does he give a quest to stop violence against US civilians on the strip in Kabul by appeasing a local warlord with a really creepy dog?

    September 14, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Reply
  34. Frangible

    Why are we letting the Taliban use our nuclear defense network? Banhammer the entire country of Pakistan.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Reply
  35. BA

    We've been Afghanistan for 10 years and the enemy is still able to strike inside our bases on our own turf. The criteria of a successful attack is not distance it's duration, effectiveness, and publicity. I'm sorry people, but that's a victory for the Taliban. Afghanistan will never be subdued by a foreign invader. These people have been fighting off invaders for thousands of years. They're masters at it. They can't be beat. We should leave. Send send our boys home. The 9-11 terrorists were all Saudi nationals except for one who was from the UAE. They were not Afghans.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Reply
    • eloop

      Meh – this assault, not attack, was akin to the neighborhood bully throwing a couple of eggs at your house. It'll need to be cleaned up, but much ado about nothing. BTW, we know who you are and are coming for you.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Reply
  36. Ted Wilson

    What "narrative" could the Taliban possibly have other than, ignorance, violence, misogyny, pederasty, self immolation, and hatred?

    September 14, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Reply
    • Anon

      What narrative could the western world have than possibly ignorance, violence, misogyny, pederasty, self immolation, and hatred? See how that works?

      September 14, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Reply
    • guidedtouch

      If the Taliban is as ignorant and self defeating as your post seems to state, what does that say for the coalition who hasnt eliminated them in ten years?

      September 14, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Reply
      • The Afghan

        When's the last time you found a rapist, child molester, or murderer and stopped them before they did more damage? You speak ill of a country's efforts at winning a war against criminal elements, perhaps you should lead the charge and find these extremists in one of the world's most mountainous regions, while keeping to international and local laws regarding human rights, of course.

        And Anon, don't be a twat. You're telling me the Taliban want peace? They're following the same narrative that madmen and lunatics follow- begot violence and nothing else. Trying to be clever and replace the key element just to make a point is the opposite of intelligently analyzing the situation. You're just using toddler methods of "no you" to play devil's advocate. Grow up.

        September 14, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  37. Duff

    Reading this article am astounded that CNN's experts have no idea how to correctly use the terms "Strategic", "Operational", and "Tactical". Any US military captain or major has a better grasp of these concepts than CNN's experts.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Reply
  38. Red's Helper

    @Red, 99% of Taliban (if that few) are not Arabs nor speak Arabic. Chances are they're speaking Pashto. Perhaps Dari. If it was Arabic, that's likely a sign of your al Qaeda tourist embedded trainer/Taliban sugar daddy on the radio. Cheers.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Reply
  39. Red

    I doubt those tweets were from Taliban. First they would be in Arabic language. Second, they sound just like the many anti-American/anti-NATO people that hang out on CNN for all the articles related to Libya War. Those anti's on CNN are always accusing NATO of killing civilians and are always refering to video's on the web.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Reply
  40. Kirk

    That building under construction was quite a distance from the embasy. Taking pot shots on a building, even with RPGs, should not be characterized as an attack. I am sorry for those that lost loved ones but that doesn't make it any less underwhelming.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Reply
  41. DaveNYUSA

    Really? REALLY?
    We are at WAR and you have idiots fighting over TWEETS?
    Don't you get suspended in HIGH SCHOOL for that?

    September 14, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Reply
    • Low

      obviously you dont know how HUGE and big the twitter movement is

      September 14, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Reply
  42. DD

    I'll be MORE than happy to reduce the Afghan conflict to a Twitter war!! Saves us all mega lives & money!!!

    September 14, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Reply
  43. @ME

    I smelled that fart too...serious smell people. This guy meant business and obviously defeated Islam with his stench.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Reply
  44. prplsr570

    sounds like made up crap to me

    September 14, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Reply
  45. James V.

    This just in –

    Witnesses also observed a protracted slap fight between the opposing side's Tee-Shirt vendors.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Reply
  46. HolySmokingRoller

    "Far from spectacular" ...chances are the loved-ones of the dead will not find comfort in that statement. I'm sure it was the way it was imaged by ALL participants ..."in a blaze of glory, not how some bureaucratic desk jockey pictures it from his overpriced leather chair. I forgive you blind man ...and all the other blind men, you just can't see.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Reply
    • Bill

      it's a matter of perspective. yes, your right that the family of the dead are hurting and we all grieve for them, but quit being the smart a$$. it's a given they hurt as if we didn't know that. the comment comes from the perspective of the war being waged....tune in

      September 14, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Reply
    • guidedtouch

      These type of statements "far from spectacular", "of no conseqeunce" are designed not to enlighten us to what happened but to provoke the enemy into thinking they are doing no harm. the phrases that fly around are designed to fit the political climate, if we want more troops over there, we hear phrases such as "growing taliban strength", "increased attacks". right now, we are approaching an election year, we want to tone down the war,

      September 14, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Reply
  47. KHI

    of course its branded as "not a big deal" when only Afghan police and civilians are the victims. If one NATO soldier died it would be a BIG deal. I commend the NATO soldiers but the Afghanis deserve just as much credit.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Reply
  48. c

    “War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses. I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag. I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket. There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.WAR is a racket. It always has been.It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives... Major General Smedley Butler USMC 1935

    September 14, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Reply
    • HolySmokingRoller

      "Common man" is easily led by his emotion, identification and justification, this is a SIMPLE math formula that elitist of this world use wisely to keep us bound as "the perfect" slave to the processes of money, making it, spending it and so on. We are taught as children how to function as separates, school programs have been designed to promote difference and nurture competitiveness, which goes against the nature or natural state of man. Because of this mankind is always in a state of turmoil because the captains of industry have done a fine job in making a slave this he is anything but a slave! Riddle me this: if you could no longer make money ...what would you do?

      September 14, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Reply
  49. CNN Budget Cuts

    CNN must have cut their budget to the bone for this to be news. Why don't you guys open a bureau in Afghanistan and report on what our country is doing there instead of what any blogger could find on twitter?

    September 14, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Reply
  50. killallah

    How funny the taliban gets their little feelings hurted on twitter like hormone addled 14 year old girils

    September 14, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Reply
  51. Me

    I farted walking past a mosque once. Is that an assault against Islam? Any reporters or book publishers that want my whole story can contact me here. Bidding starts at $50,000.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Reply
    • Abdulla The Great

      That is a grave assault against Islam. You will be plunged by a sheepherder to punish the area that insulted Allah.

      September 14, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Reply
    • JR

      Well your an insult to any normal thinking person, does that bother you moron?

      September 14, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Reply
      • Bill

        well put JR

        September 14, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
      • AA

        JR, Great Comment

        September 14, 2011 at 10:03 pm |

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