Afghan President Hamid Karzai has accused NATO of failing to prevent the multiple attacks staged by the Taliban insurgents across Afghanistan on Sunday. NATO says the attacks will not affect its long-term exit planning.
The Taliban's coordinated attacks that gripped Afghanistan on Sunday lay bare intelligence failures by both NATO and Afghan troops, Afgan President Hamid Karzai said Monday.
"The terrorists' infiltration in Kabul and other provinces is an intelligence failure for us and especially for NATO and should be seriously investigated," said Karzai in a statement.
But Karzai lauded what he called the "bravery and sacrifice of the security forces who quickly and timely reacted to contain the terrorists."
"Afghan security forces proved to the people that they can defend their country successfully," he added.
NATO: no changes to the plan
Meanwhile, NATO was adamant that the attacks will not affect the 2014 deadline for the withdrawal of foreign troops.
"Clearly we still face security challenges," NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said at a news briefing. "This was not the first such attack and I do not expect it to be the last."
"But such attacks don't change the transition strategy, they don't change the goal and they don't change the timeline that we all agreed to at the Lisbon summit in November 2010," she insisted.
Ban: strengthen counter-terrorism
The United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon also emphatically decried on Monday the Taliban insurgency, adding that it had exposed the need to beef up the country's security forces.
Ban condemned "in the strongest possible terms" the siege, warning: "We need to strengthen the capacity of counter-terrorism efforts and of Afghan security."
“These issues will be discussed in detail at the forthcoming NATO summit in May" he told reporters at a press conference in Brussels.
Hitting at the heart of the country
A series of attacks staged by the Taliban rocked Afghanistan's capital Kabul and neighboring regions on Sunday and into the early hours of Monday.
The siege and the consequent crackdown staged by Afghan security forces left dead 36 Taliban militants, 11 members of the security forces and four civilians.
In addition, around 40 Afghan security force members and 25 civilians were injured, according to the country's interior minister.
NATO currently has 130,000 troops in Afghanistan to help the Afghan government to fight a war of attrition against Taliban insurgents and train security forces. The US-led military coalition is scheduled to withdraw all combat troops by the end of 2014.
sej/ipj (AFP, AP, Reuters)