Taliban Attack Doesn't Stop Afghan Transition

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Afghan officials are looking into the security breach that led to a deadly terrorist attack in a Western-style Kabul hotel.

Nineteen people -- eight suicide bombers and 11 civilian -- died and more than a dozen other people were wounded in the Inter-Continental Hotel raid carried out by the Taliban, Tuesday.

"It was huge blasts -- some five, six blasts," hotel guest Ishtiaq Mohammed recalled.

Security officials say no foreigners died in the attack, but two were among the 14 wounded.

"We believe that there was a loophole in security, definitely. An investigation will definitely take place," Afghan Security Spokesman Latifullah Mashal said.

CBN News reporter Chuck Holton is in Afghanistan. He says the attack was a Taliban power play in advance of upcoming talks about the country's future.

"This is a sign that the Taliban are trying to position themselves to have more of a bargaining power at the bargaining table," Holton explained. "Certainly it's still going to be fairly violent in the months to come as they continue to do that."

Last week, President Barack Obama announced that 30,000 U.S. troops will pull out of Afghanistan in the next 15 months.

"We are starting this drawdown from a position of strength," he said.

Tuesday's attack raises questions about the Afghan government's ability to maintain security when the U.S. leaves. But Afghan forces are beginning to step in.

"The response to the attack was carried out almost exclusively by Afghan forces and you know, that's a big change," Holton said. "Afghan forces have now taken over much more of the responsibility for response to attacks like this, and for their own security."

Despite the attack, Afghan President Hamid Karzai vowed his government will assume responsibility for the country's security as planned.

Karzai said in a released statement that the insurgents are "enjoying the killing of innocent people" and "such incidents will not stop us from transitioning security of our country."

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