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The Serena Hotel

by Geraldo Rivera | Dec 05, 2007

Kabul, Afghanistan

On Wednesday morning December 5th, my first here in the Afghan capital, I was awakened by the sound of sirens. The phone rang in my hotel room a couple of minutes later and it was Akbar Shinwari my old friend here in Kabul telling me that there had just been another suicide bombing, the third in the last eight days. Shades of Baghdad in the bad old days before the surge, a bomber, or some at the scene said, a pair of bombers had targeted a group of Afghan soldiers waiting to catch a bus. By the time I got there, although the bodies had been cleared, chaos still reined.

Six soldiers had been slain, as well as seven civilians. Many others were injured and shops on both sides of the street heavily damaged.

Local authorities believe the bomber or bombers was one of a group of at least four sent in from Pakistan to disrupt this city, and sow the kind of terror that seeks to change the way people live in Kabul, the way the terrorists have perverted life in Baghdad. Local cops believe that at least four of the attackers were sent in this salvo because two weeks ago, incredibly, they arrested one of them, and he confessed to the plot. Fox News, we, obtained world exclusive video of the heart-stopping arrest here in Kabul. The video shot by the cops shows the would-be bomber being approached by an officer, who had no idea the guy, was wearing a suicide belt. The brave soul tears open the attacker’s jacket to reveal the bomb underneath. Other cops close in and they restrain the would-be suicider.

In a wild scene that takes several minutes to unfold, they manage to neutralize the attacker before he can detonate the trigger, which is located on his chest. It was the closest of close calls, a hair-raising scene that averted mass murder at the last second. On Friday, the 7th, I spoke with the top cop who directed the operation, General Ali Shah Paktiawal the head of criminal investigations in Kabul, who told me the group were all from Pakistan where Al Qaeda had trained them for the last six months.

This country is under a full blown assault from al Qaeda and their terrorist allies. Their preferred targets are the cops and soldiers, but they'll kill anybody who happens to be around. Defense Secretary Robert Gates who came here on a surprise visit earlier this week promised to help beef up the country's security forces at a joint press conference with President Hamid Karsai. When I asked the president if he feared that Al Qaeda, under pressure in Iraq might be shifting its focus back here, as some defense analysts are suggesting. He dismissed the possibilities, saying the terror group was a spent force that could only set off bombs and kill people in desperation. That was on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, the remarks sounded like a man in denial.

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