A common misconception of blowback is that retaliation is limited to foreign governments and citizens. If this were to be the case, Chechen terrorists would not be bombing airports and the Taliban would not be bombing hotels. The Taliban’s coordinated attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul was an attack against both foreign and domestic oppressive forces. The aim of the attack was straightforward:
“We had three main goals in attacking the hotel,” the Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said after the attack. “We wanted to target as many foreign advisers as we could, as many provincial governors as we could, and bring tension to Kabul on the same day of the security-transition conference.”
Foreigners and Afghans alike were killed. This brazen attack also accomplished the third goal of bringing tension to the “transition” conference. As if the trust deficit between American and Afghanistan were not enough, this will surely widen it.
Additionally, this attack comes at a crucial time for Barack Obama who just recently announced plans to withdraw 33,000 American troops by the fall of 2012. One of Obama’s justifications for starting to withdraw troops, other than political stratagem to appease a war-weary American public, was that the Afghans are becoming increasingly capable of dealing with the Taliban and other security issues. As the Afghans were unable to stop a raid in a hotel, NATO air support was called in to ultimately finish the job.
While Obama has declared to bring home 33,000 troops by next fall, and all troops by 2014, it will be incidents like these that prolong American involvement in the “Graveyard of Empires,” despite all of the “progress” that Obama and his advisors claim to see.