Karzai: Afghan attacks a ‘failure’ for NATO

Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai said NATO was “especially” to blame for the intelligence failures that allowed insurgents to launch attacks in Kabul and other areas of Afghanistan on Sunday.

In a statement Monday, Karzai said the infiltration of suicide bombers and other militants into Kabul was an “intelligence failure for us and especially NATO,” and he called for a full investigation.

The Afghan government said 36 insurgents were killed by Afghan security forces Sunday in the attacks. One attacker who was captured said the offensive was linked to the Haqqani network, a group based in Pakistan with ties to the Taliban and al Qaeda, according to CNN.

Four civilians and 11 Afghan troops were killed in the attacks Sunday, according to Afghan officials.

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Afghanistan commander U.S. Gen. John Allen praised the Afghan security forces for handling nearly all the response to Sunday’s attacks. 

“I am enormously proud of how quickly Afghan security forces responded to today's attacks in Kabul,” Allen said in a statement. “Each attack was meant to send a message: that legitimate governance and Afghan sovereignty are in peril. The [Afghanistan National Security Forces] ANSF response itself is proof enough of that folly.”

Karzai also praised the Afghan security force, which he said exercised “caution and care” and gained “relatively quick control of the situation.”

According to reports from Kabul, the insurgents climbed high-rise construction sites, where they fired guns and rocket-propelled grenades. They targeted the U.S., British, German and Russian embassies and NATO headquarters, the Los Angeles Times reported, while also attacking air fields and police stations in three eastern provinces.

The attacks, which the Taliban said Sunday was the start of a “spring offensive,” may spark further questions about the U.S. mission in Afghanistan ahead of the NATO summit in May.

NATO plans to hand over control of security to the Afghan forces by the end of 2014, and the Obama administration has said it hopes to hand over the lead on combat missions to the Afghans next year.

But some Republicans, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), have criticized the Obama administration for placing timelines on NATO’s withdrawal. 

"It's probably a manifestation that the Taliban still has some strength," McCain said on CBS "Face the Nation" Sunday. "I think part of it is due to the fact that we have continued to send messages that we are leaving."

McCain said the good news is that two of the biggest issues surrounding the U.S.-Afghanistan strategic partnership agreement — night raids and detention — have largely been resolved. The agreement, McCain said, would send a signal that a U.S. presence would remain after 2014.