The suicide attack on the Kabul Serena Hotel in January 2008 was a radical departure from previous terrorist attacks on soft targets. Using interviews with survivors and a captured suicide bomber, the authors have reconstructed the attack to show why the tactic has been used again and again by Taliban insurgents to penetrate well-guarded targets in Kabul and might well have served as a template for the November 2008 attacks on the Taj and Oberoi Hotels in Mumbai by the Laskar-e-Toiba. This essay also offers insights into the recruitment of suicide bombers in the border region and how the ready availability of volunteers has allowed the Taliban to step up the number of suicide attacks without a corresponding increase in lethality.
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