Earlier this week, a group of well-armed insurgents forced their way into a vacant building which was under construction, and used it as a platform to shoot rocket-propelled grenades towards the Embassy, the NATO headquarters, and other Afghan and international military and government targets.
The attack was quashed mostly by ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) with some help from US advisors, several of whom wear our unit's "Yankee Division" patch.
A lot of the initial reaction in the western and local media was that the attack raises doubts about ANSF's ability to establish order and protect its people.
Here's why I disagree: If you could put together ANY group of a dozen or so folks with AK-47s and RPG launchers, how hard do you think it would be to get them into a public place where they could cause mayhem and havoc? Pick any American city, and it doesn't matter -- there's no security net that's going to stop a small group of well-armed people intent on causing harm from achieving that goal.
Eventually, that small group will be overwhelmed by the superior firepower of the local response force (police, SWAT, gendarmerie, etc.) And that's exactly what happened here.
Yes, it took awhile to finish the *clearing* process, but again, think back to hostage standoff situations and other such incidents in the States. Even with some of the best-trained and best-equipped constabulary forces, that stuff is never easy.
I wasn't downtown on Tuesday and I didn't hear any of the small arms rounds or the RPG impacts. But I was close enough to the nerve center of what was going on to say that the entire episode said more to me about the capabilities of ANSF than it did those of the insurgents.