As the sun rises in Kabul, helicopters are endlessly crossing the skies — back and forth, high and low.

Only a few hours earlier, explosions were still resounding at the US embassy in Kabul — more than 13 hours after the first rocket-propelled grenades were launched on the site from bomb vest-laden insurgents using a half-built high rise nearby as a base.

While the number of deaths has been low compared to other attacks, the multi-pronged approach is not a common practice of the Taliban, which claimed responsibility early on. The parallel suicide bomber attacks in other areas of the capital city threw many into confusion, as roads closed, unconfirmed reports spread and people wondered where the next strike would be.

Some foreigners who have lived in the city for some years say this was worst they had seen it yet. But what they really meant was the uncertainty was the worst they had seen yet.

The Taliban highlighted this as much in an update issued yesterday evening: “All the foreign invading and local security forces are in horror and have been unable to break the resistance of a few martyr-seeking Mujahideen going on for more than 6 hours straight.”

Only two months since control of Kabul’s security was handed over to the Afghan forces, this latest episode bodes ill for confidence in the Afghan government, army and police to defend its people.

The new day will see tough questions asked. But in the context of a decade-long war, largely fought by battle-weary governments around the world, it is not likely any of the answers will see anything change.

Peter Fray

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