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AFGHANISTAN/ The expert: How the Taliban can “reinforce” Karzai

Expert on terrorism MARCO LOMBARDI discusses the recent suicide bombing in Kabul, the reasons behind it, and how it might be time for the US to withdraw from Afghanistan.

Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan  (Infophoto) Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan (Infophoto)

A 14 year old suicide bomber blew himself up yesterday in front of the NATO Headquarters in Kabul, in one of the areas of Afghanistan most tightly controlled by the security forces. Six civilians were killed, most of them children. Ilsussidiario.net interviewed Marco Lombardi, professor at the Catholic University and an expert on international terrorism.

Lombardi, do you support the theory that the Haqqani clan was behind the attack?
This could be a valid analysis, but I do not think there is precise enough information now to take sides. I would not put a signature on it yet. Today's attack is problematic for a number of other reasons, primarily because it took place in the green zone, that it was carried out by a 14 year old, and that it aimed at very specific targets. These are the elements that make one think the most. Then, I will only say that they were members of the Taliban, which is definitely a reliable claim because the attack happened three days before September 11, which is traditionally a time of attacks for many reasons. Attributing it to the Haqqani clan is likely not so much because of the nature of this specific attack, but because of the more general context in Afghanistan now.

Is the attack connected with the instability and
the political developments in Pakistan?
I do not believe that the political developments in Pakistan conditioned the attacks in Afghanistan. Rather, the lack of control that the Pakistani government has of the western territories of its country make it so that there is a close connection between the attacks and the logistical and organizational possibilities that the western part of Pakistan offers Afghanistan. This western part, in fact, is more Afghan than Pakistani. The Pakistani government has been reduced to controlling only the center of the country, while it is losing more and more of its borders. Not surprisingly, Karzai recently said that Pakistan is an exception in history.

Iran, too,
is going through a transition, with Ahmadinejad announcing that will not stand for reelection. How could this influence Afghanistan?