And, curiously, Hamid Karzai still wants Marshall Dillon outta Dodge:
Some guests included provincial governors attending a conference due to begin on Wednesday over the transition of civil and military responsibility from foreign forces to Afghans, two Afghan officials said.
Last week, Obama announced plans for an initial withdrawal of 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, with another 23,000 to leave by the end of 2012, sparking concern the Afghan security forces were not ready to take over.
But President Hamid Karzai said the plan stood.
"This insurgent attack cannot stop our security transition process," Karzai said in a statement.
Yep. That Taliban crime family; quite the negotiating partner. Good luck with that Clyde.
I suspect the violence will continue to escalate between now and 2014, the Taliban hoping thereby to hasten our exit, and soften up their indigenous negotiation partner via that intimidation. Hate to say it, but it appears to be ending up to be a lot of wasted effort, blood and treasure on our part. Was that inevitable? Should we have stuck out implementation of COIN or was that wishful thinking? Are we going to be allowed to base some level of operations in Afghanistan, as we deal with the festering Pakistan?
Damned if I know.
The brazen raid came only a week after President Barack Obama announced a phased withdrawal of combat troops to 2014, and it raised more doubts about the ability of Afghan security forces to battle insurgents.
It needed a NATO helicopter to finally finish off the attackers, and NATO trainers helped oversee the Afghan police response to the raid.
After several explosions, attackers entered the hotel late on Tuesday and made their way to the ballroom, a hotel receptionist said.
Some carried tape recorders playing Taliban war songs and shot at anyone they saw. Guests jumped from second and third floors to escape, the receptionist told Reuters, asking not to be identified.