Sediqqi said authorities found burqas — the blue garments worn by many Afghan woman that drapes them from head to toe — inside the van the assailants used to transport weapons into the building.
“We strongly believe they used burqas to reach this place,” Sediqqi said, speaking outside the building as reporters took photos of the six bodies of the assailants. “The police respect the women too much.”
Sediqqi said the siege ended only after Afghan and NATO special forces stormed the building Wednesday morning as NATO attack helicopters provided backup.
NATO said six coalition “personnel” were wounded in the attack. A NATO spokesman, Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings, said three of the troops were wounded Tuesday in a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) attack on the base. The other three were wounded while clearing the building overnight, he added.
U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker said Wednesday that the attack was likely carried out by the Haqanni network, a Taliban offshoot group that has been linked to some of the boldest attacks in the capital.The Taliban had claimed responsibility for the attack Tuesday.
Crocker downplayed the significance of Tuesday’s attack, which kept the capital under seige for nearly 20 hours.
“These were five guys that rumbled into town with RPGs under their car seats,” Crocker said. “This is not a very big deal, a hard day for the embassy and my staff, who behaved with enormous courage and dedication. But look, you know a dozen RPG rounds from 800 meters away — that isn’t [the] Tet [offensive], that’s harassment.”
Crocker said between six and seven rounds landed inside the embassy compound. He said he was heartened by the Afghan government’s response to the attack and by what he described as a lately inconsequential attack.
“If this is the best they can do, I find their lack of ability and capacity and the ability of Afghan forces to respond to it, actually encouraging,” he said.
Transition of responsibility for security from NATO to Afghan security forces “will proceed on pace,” he added.
Crocker spoke to a Wall Street Journal reporter Tuesday morning who was asked by the embassy to share a transcript of the interview with the rest of the Kabul press corps.
Residents watched in horror as lightly armed police officers wearing no body armor fought assailants who fired rockets into diplomatic and military enclaves while holed up in an unoccupied building in what is perhaps the most secure part of the capital.