May 18th, 2010
02:20 PM ET

Security Brief: Attack raises Afghan policing questions

Investigators examine the site of an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan that killed

The suicide bomb attack in Kabul Tuesday underlined that the Taliban are still very capable of causing substantial carnage in the Afghan capital – months after promises that security would be tightened.

The minivan – with an estimated 1,500 pounds of explosives – was driven into a U.S military convoy on a busy thoroughfare called Dar-ul-aman Road, and close to a U.S. military base, Camp Julien. 18 people were killed.

The Taliban had warned about such attacks in a communiqué issued earlier this month announcing its spring offensive. “The Al-Faath operations will target the invading Americans, NATO military personnel, foreign advisers, spies who pose as foreign diplomats, members of the Karzai stooge administration … ” and many others.

After the last such attack in Kabul three months ago, in which 14 people were killed in an attack on a hotel and shopping center, there were promises that security in the capital would be improved. And for a while there were no major incidents. But this attack will revive anxiety about the ability of Afghan security forces to make the capital - and important military and government installations - safe.

Among the questions bound to be raised: did the suicide vehicle pass through any checkpoints? Was there any intelligence about the planned attack? And are the Afghan National Police capable of providing security in Kabul – or anywhere else in Afghanistan?