The coordinated attacks across Kabul yesterday, which left 27 dead, were quickly claimed by the Taliban. But for the second time this week, the US has dismissed a formal claiming of responsibility by the Taliban insurgency, insisting instead that their on-again, off-again allies in the Haqqani Network are actually to blame.
Ambassador Ryan Crocker cited both the Kabul attack and the earlier Wardak bombing as proof that more attacks were needed against the Haqqanis, who are the excuse for the constant US drone strikes against North Waziristan.
The sum total of the evidence of Haqqani involvement, incredibly, is a claim that the attackers were drinking mango juice that was made in Pakistan. And the Haqqanis are based in Pakistan. So anyone who drinks Pakistani mango juice is probably Haqqani affiliated.
Or at least the current excuse. While the US initially was attacking North and South Waziristan to “target al-Qaeda,” they eventually abandoned this claim and, when the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) became more high profile, claimed they were really after them all along. The TTP, however, left North Waziristan over a year ago, at the behest of a local warlord. Since then the attacks, when commented on at all, are presented as targeting the Haqqanis. This has led to a surge in officials blaming them for attacks far outside of the Haqqani Network’s usual zone of operation, to play up the threat.
Mysteriously, however, Ambassador Crocker used the Kabul attacks as a chance to mock the group and claim vindication for the decade-long NATO occupation. Terming the killings “not a very big deal,” adding “if that’s the best they can do, you know, I think its actually a statement of their weakness.” The month of August was the deadliest yet for US troops in the nation.