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Mardi, 13 Septembre 2011 20:14

Video: Troops Fend Off Kabul Attack, Launch P.R. Counterstrike

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As a complex, coordinated Taliban attack unleashed gunfire, mortars and suicide bombers onto the U.S. Embassy in Kabul on Tuesday morning, NATO’s military command didn’t just respond to the threat militarily. It got its videocameras rolling in an attempt to deny the Taliban a propaganda victory.

In this just-released, four-minute video, American, Afghan and allied troops jump from stacked metal connexes to defensible positions and direct fire at Taliban insurgents below the walls of the giant compound. Sirens from ambulances are audible, as are the pops of rifle rounds. Black smoke billows from an area of the compound hit by the Taliban.

The Taliban clearly want a propaganda boost from the five-hour attack. They started calling reporters to take credit for it even as their offensive was underway. The assault came days U.S. Amb. Ryan Crocker boasted to a Washington Post columnist that Kabul’s biggest problem was “traffic.” The security-analysis group Stratfor assesses that since the Taliban’s use of small arms can’t damage the embassy, “this attack was intended really to send a message, to be more symbolic in nature.”

The video appears designed to undermine that propaganda effort. Soldiers, Marines and their Afghan and foreign counterparts work calmly — but fiercely in tandem to direct rifle fire against the insurgents. Message: We got this — even if the Taliban just shattered the sense that NATO and the Afghan government at least had the capitol locked down.

At least six people are dead and 19 wounded, mostly Afghans, in a fight that subsided mere hours ago. We’re unaware of any previous effort from the U.S. military that got video out to social media nearly as quickly.

H/T: Jeff Schogol of Stars & Stripes

Video: Troops Fend Off Kabul Attack, Launch P.R. CounterstrikeSpencer Ackerman is Danger Room's senior reporter, based out of Washington, D.C., covering weapons of doom and the strategies they're used to implement.
Follow @attackerman and @dangerroom on Twitter.


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