As of last month, Pakistan had decided not to undertake an operation against the Haqqanis for the time being, likely hoping to continue delaying until right around the time the ski slopes open in Jahannam.
Speaking of unpleasantly elevated temperatures, the U.S. has reportedly rewarded Pakistan’s intransigence by “warming” to the idea of negotiating with the Haqqanis. An update on this story. “Haqqani network sends message with Kabul attacks,” by Rod Nordland for the New York Times, October 30:
Kabul, Afghanistan – Every bomb, they say, has a return address.
When car bombs blew up in West Beirut, or explosions cut down worshipers in Sadr City mosques, survivors generally knew who was to blame, and more or less why “” even when no one claimed responsibility.
So, too, with the suicide car bomb that on Saturday delivered the worst blow that NATO forces have suffered yet in Kabul, smashing into an armored bus full of troops and killing 13 foreigners, most of them Americans, and at least four Afghans.
The Taliban immediately took credit, but Afghan and American officials here strongly suspect that, more specifically, it was the fearsome Haqqani faction, whose fighters have proved better trained and organized than many Taliban, and which in recent months especially has focused its attacks on military targets rather than civilian ones.
The message the Haqqanis are sending “” to the world and, especially, to the Afghan public “” is that they are willing and able to kill foreign troops. And with the Haqqani bombs comes a particularly troublesome return address: Pakistan, where the group is based.
One Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity under diplomatic ground rules, said it was clear that if the Haqqanis were behind the attack, the militants were reacting to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton”s recent trip to Pakistan. During the visit, she again demanded that the government do something about the Haqqanis, whose bases are in the Pakistani territory of North Waziristan.
“No one goes to this much trouble if they don”t think you”ll get the message,” the diplomat said.
An Afghan political analyst, Haroun Mir, agreed. “These are planned attacks in response to the pressure from the United States on Pakistan against the Haqqani network,” Mir said. Beyond that, he added, “the Pakistanis are sending another message, too: They are not willing to abandon their support of the Taliban.”
Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson, the spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, said Sunday in an interview that many of the so-called “spectacular” attacks in Kabul in recent months had been clearly linked to the Haqqani network. He described the group as “a criminal clan, like a Sicilian family clan, who are into criminal activity of all types, drug dealing, smuggling as well as insurgency.” He added that it had been badly hit by coalition raids and arrests this year.
Lutfullah Mashal, the spokesman for the National Directorate of Security, the Afghan intelligence service, said about the bombing on Saturday: “Usually these things are the Haqqani network. Kabul is their area of operation, and all the signs and indications point to the Haqqani network.” [...]
Since the summer, there has been a string of such attacks in the Kabul region, most characterized by complex assaults using suicide bombers or multiple attackers and acting on considerable intelligence about the target. [...]
On Thursday, another complex attack was launched in Kandahar on the Provincial Reconstruction Team, a largely American group that is helping to distribute aid money as part of the war effort.
Afghan officials have blamed all of those save the Rabbani assassination directly on the Haqqanis.