In a brazen display of Chutzpah (the original Hebrew pejorative, not the Yiddish compliment) Taliban militants attacked Hamid Karzai during the Mujahideen Day parade, which celebrates the day Najibullah was run out of office and the super successful mujahideen government took over. At least six people were killed.
This is, sadly, an enormous propaganda coup for the Taliban, who have seen their cachet in Afghanistan increase during an escalation of activity over the last year that had previously peaked at the attack on the Serena Hotel. The implications are dire: for years, the running joke has been that Karzai is only the Mayor of Kabul and not President of the country; this attack, which is the second deadly attack on high-profile targets in Kabul in four months, demonstrates just how little control he has even over Kabul. What’s worse is, the apparent ease with which two fire teams got within a few hundred feet of the President indicates that increasing segments of the population are allowing militants to roam freely.
Whether this stems from ideological similarity, fatigue with the international community’s systemic and quite intentional neglect, or simple fear remains to be seen. But the dynamic this portends is ominous indeed. Arif Rafiq sees this as the dread Spring Offensive. I don’t; this was a jab, not a movement. But it very easily could become one. That, along with the very poor way this reflects on Afghan security forces, is the deeper danger.