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Were the Kabul attackers inspired by Mumbai?

The way that this morning’s trio of attacks in Kabul played out seemed troublingly similar to November’s attacks in Mumbai: a coordinated series of assaults involving gunmen on multiple targets combined with hostage-taking. Could the huge international attention generated by Mumbai have inspired the Taliban? I e-mailed terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman of Georgetown University to ...

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The way that this morning's trio of attacks in Kabul played out seemed troublingly similar to November's attacks in Mumbai: a coordinated series of assaults involving gunmen on multiple targets combined with hostage-taking. Could the huge international attention generated by Mumbai have inspired the Taliban? I e-mailed terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman of Georgetown University to ask if this could be a new model for terrorist operations. His take:

Certainly possible that they were inspired/influenced by Mumbai, but even Mumbai was not completely new. Pakistani jihadi groups, like Lashkar-e-Taiba have long used the same tactics as Mumbai in Kashmir. (I was there eight years ago during one such attack.) So, these type of forced entry attacks with automatic weapons blazing and hand grenades hurled were not unheard of, even before Mumbai. The Mumbai attacks, though, have very likely pushed this tactic more forward in the minds of South Asian terrorists and perhaps now made a preferred form of attack.

The way that this morning’s trio of attacks in Kabul played out seemed troublingly similar to November’s attacks in Mumbai: a coordinated series of assaults involving gunmen on multiple targets combined with hostage-taking. Could the huge international attention generated by Mumbai have inspired the Taliban? I e-mailed terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman of Georgetown University to ask if this could be a new model for terrorist operations. His take:

Certainly possible that they were inspired/influenced by Mumbai, but even Mumbai was not completely new. Pakistani jihadi groups, like Lashkar-e-Taiba have long used the same tactics as Mumbai in Kashmir. (I was there eight years ago during one such attack.) So, these type of forced entry attacks with automatic weapons blazing and hand grenades hurled were not unheard of, even before Mumbai. The Mumbai attacks, though, have very likely pushed this tactic more forward in the minds of South Asian terrorists and perhaps now made a preferred form of attack.

It should also be noted that in both cases, suspicion has fallen on Pakistan.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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