5:30am

Wed September 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Inside Kabul Siege Site:Attackers' Bodies, Walls Riddled With Bullet Holes

An attack on the U.S. embassy and other buildings in the heart of Kabul's diplomatic district that lasted 20 hours is now over.

Reporting from the 10th floor of the unfinished building from which assailants fired rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons toward the embassy, NPR's Renee Montagne said on Morning Edition that "not too far from us are the bodies of four of the attackers; there [are] two more bodies on the staircase as it goes down. ... This was clearly the site of a huge fight. We're told this was where the fight was the fiercest; right here in this room. The walls are pockmarked with all kinds of holes from the incoming fire — from Afghan and international community forces."

"The target was the American embassy," Renee continued. "Looking out one of these big open windows, there's a clear line of sight to the embassy. It's a perfect target from this distance for something like a rocket-propelled grenade."

NPR's Quil Lawrence, who was with Renee, said there are two opinions being aired in Afghanistan about the operation by Afghan forces to bring the attack to an end. Some critics are saying the fact that it took 20 hours to stop the six attackers and that help was needed from international forces is a sign that Afghan forces still aren't up to the task of providing security, Quil said. But, he added, "according to police ... they said it was a meticulous clearing, floor-by-floor, and they'll also point to the fact that there were not that many casualities."

The assault on the embassy was the highest profile attack among several, apparently coordinated, operations carried out in Kabul by insurgents Tuesday. As The Associated Press writes, there were also attempted suicide bombings in different parts of the city. "At least six Afghans — four police officers and two civilians — died," AP adds. No Americans were hurt.

While a spokesman for the Taliban said its fighters were responsible for the attacks, Kabul's deputy police chief and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker pointed at the Haqqani network, which has ties to both the Taliban and al-Qaida, has been behind other attacks in Kabul and also is known for its kidnappings of foreigners.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.