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US embassy attack in Kabul 'no big deal': ambassador


KABUL — United States ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker said Wednesday that his embassy was hit with six grenades in a Taliban attack, but played down the insurgents' raid as "not a very big deal".

The attack launched on Tuesday lasted for 19 hours and left 14 people dead in a barrage of gunfire and suicide blasts targeting the US embassy and the neighbouring headquarters of NATO-led troops in Afghanistan.

Crocker said at least six rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) landed in the embassy compound although officials had earlier said that injuries there were limited to three Afghan visa applicants and one Afghan security guard.

"This really is not a very big deal, a hard day for the embassy and my staff who behaved with enormous courage and dedication," he said in a pooled media interview.

"Half a dozen RPG rounds from 800 metres away -- that isn't Tet (a key offensive in the Vietnam war), that's harassment."

Crocker blamed the attack on the Haqqani network, a Taliban-allied insurgent group with bases across the disputed porous border in Pakistan that focuses on operations in eastern Afghanistan.

"The information available to us is that these attackers... are part of the Haqqani network, they enjoy safe haven in northern Waziristan (in Pakistan)."


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