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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Attack on Afghanistan's Independence Day
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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Attack on Afghanistan's Independence Day

this is one of those times when i wish i didn't have to say "i was there"...

from the bbc...

At least one person has been killed and 11 were hurt in an attack on a military parade in Kabul attended by President Hamid Karzai and other dignitaries.

Security forces whisked Mr Karzai away from the scene and hundreds fled as shots rang out. Two MPs were reported to be among the wounded.

The parade was a celebration to mark 16 years since the overthrow of the country's Soviet-backed rule.

A spokesman for the Taleban said the movement had carried out the attack.

He said six militants had been deployed near the parade with suicide vests and guns. Three of them were killed and the other three arrested, he added.

In a live TV address after the incident, Mr Karzai confirmed that there had been arrests.

"Fortunately Afghan security forces quickly surrounded them," he said. "Some of them were captured."

"Everything is calm, rest assured."

Mr Karzai has frequently been the target of assassination attempts in recent years.

The parade, in central Kabul, was part of Afghan National Day celebrations, marking the capture of Kabul from the Soviet-backed government by the mujahideen in 1992.

here's the bbc video...

we were on the upper balcony where we could just barely see the mosque area across from the stadium... we saw the president's vehicles arrive and saw all the elaborate security precautions... we moved back and forth from my friend's room where it was on live afghan tv to the balcony, but when the president and his entourage moved in and the ceremony started, we clustered in front of the tv... after the opening prayer had been chanted, cannon fire commenced to signal the official start of the parade... it was shortly thereafter that we heard machine-gun or small arms fire open up and saw the dignitaries hitting the deck in the reviewing stands... we couldn't quite believe what we were seeing but after more gunfire and an explosion or two, we were convinced that an attack was underway... i ran out to the edge of the balcony and shot this short video clip that shows people and troops running into the mosque and away from the gunfire...

we moved to our rooms but, when we heard gunfire in the street just outside, we hustled down to the basement with our helmets and armored vests to the "safe room" where we spent the past couple of hours... we were allowed to come back to our rooms just about fifteen minutes ago but warned to stay off the balconies...

in a perverse kind of way, i'm actually glad to have had this experience... it gives me a much better feel for how a lot of people have to live their lives day-to-day...

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