The New York Times reports an epic case of knocking on the wrong door:

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban assailants apparently thought they were attacking an unprotected Christian-run day care center. But they mistakenly burst into the compound next door, where an American government contractor’s employees were heavily armed and ready, according to accounts that the contractor and the Afghan police gave on Friday of a wild four-hour shootout here.

Don’t you hate it when that happens?

The residents in the group’s house included the two Americans and an Australian, a Malaysian and a South African, who was the group’s security adviser. The group runs agricultural and demining programs in Afghanistan, as well as in Israel, Croatia and Vietnam.

A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahid, reached by telephone while the attack was under way, said the target had been “a church used to convert Muslims to Christianity.”

Mujahid said the Taliban had intelligence that the suspected underground church was celebrating its anniversary in Kabul, and the insurgents timed their attack to what they thought was that celebration.

There are no known churches in Afghanistan, where the practice of Christianity is outlawed and conversion of Muslims is a crime. Aid groups supported by Christian groups abroad have in the past been accused of being missionaries, and two were expelled by Afghanistan in 2010.

Sometimes things don’t work out as planned.

It’s a reminder that Murphy is alive and well in this world. Reality is complex and nonlinear, however good your Five Year Plan and “let’s raid the day care center” operation might be. Surprises are part of life. Helmut von Moltke once said “no plan of operations extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy’s main strength”.

Well I guess that’s true.


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