Kabul attack a bad sign for Afghan security

U.S. officials say a Pakistani terror group linked to the Taliban was behind Tuesday's attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul.

No Americans were hurt, but CBS News correspondent Mandy Clark reports the ease of the attack raises serious questions about whether Afghans can protect their capital.

The siege ended Wednesday morning, after 20 hours of fierce fighting, leaving 27 people dead, including the attackers.

CBS News was among the first to get inside the high rise building seized by the terrorists. Police, who had swarmed into the area, showed off the bodies of the dead militants like trophies. But just a few hours later, at the scene of the original attack, security had largely evaporated.

There is only a handful of police protecting the site, but Tuesday, gunmen only had to get through one gate, before they took the building and effectively took the city hostage.

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The 14-story building provided the perfect sniper's nest. The attackers were able to launch rocket and small arms fire over the walls of the US Embassy and NATO headquarters.

The governor of Kabul seemed astonished by the tactical advantage the insurgents had, but insisted this was a victory for the government.

Afghan forces, now in charge of security for Kabul, were in the lead during the counter attack, but they did have help from U.S. helicopters.

The blood of the last suicide bomber to kill himself was still on the floor. On the 9th floor, where the battle ended, there are shell casings that line the steps. There are still signs of the moment when the trapped insurgents blew themselves up.

The Afghan government may try to spin this as a success story, but on the streets of Kabul claims of security are growing harder to believe.

  • Mandy Clark

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