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The Taliban Are Far Closer to the Islamic State Than They Claim

6 239 134
27.08.2021

What happens to the country and its people after the forever war ends?

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In an early sign of Afghanistan’s dystopian future as well as a reminder of its dark past, a coordinated suicide attack hit several locations in Kabul, including a hotel and the airport. Dozens of people were killed and hundreds injured, including Afghan civilians attempting to leave the country and the U.S. soldiers overseeing the evacuation. Islamic State-Khorasan has taken responsibility, but the Taliban faction partially in control of security in Kabul over the past several days, the Haqqani network, must also be scrutinized. Ultimately, the attack strategically benefits the Haqqani as it will likely speed up foreign departures and prevent the prospect of further evacuations.

There have been repeated warnings of a potential airport attack over the last week. When it came, it was not spontaneous or random but a well-planned assault, using multiple bombs and targets calculated to achieve several objectives. The first and most obvious goal was to kill fleeing Afghans and discourage others from attempting to leave via the airport—or to close the airport itself. But another goal was the death of coalition troops, thus using the specter of terror to ensure the West stuck to the agreed on Aug. 31 deadline to leave the country. The timing of the attack, on the cusp of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, sends out a powerful signal to other jihadists.

In an early sign of Afghanistan’s dystopian future as well as a reminder of its dark past, a coordinated suicide attack hit several locations in Kabul, including a hotel and the airport. Dozens of people were killed and hundreds injured, including Afghan civilians attempting to leave the country and the U.S. soldiers overseeing the evacuation. Islamic State-Khorasan has taken responsibility, but the Taliban faction partially in control of security in Kabul over the past several days, the Haqqani network, must also be scrutinized. Ultimately, the attack strategically benefits the Haqqani as it will likely speed up foreign departures and prevent the prospect of further evacuations.

There have been repeated warnings of a potential airport attack over the last week. When it came, it was not spontaneous or random but a well-planned assault, using multiple bombs and targets calculated to achieve several objectives. The first and most obvious goal was to kill fleeing Afghans and discourage others from attempting to leave via the airport—or to close the airport itself. But another goal was the death of coalition troops, thus using the specter of terror to ensure the West stuck to the agreed on Aug. 31 deadline to leave the country. The timing of the attack, on the cusp of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, sends out a powerful signal to other jihadists.

The coordinated attack has all the hallmarks of Islamic State-Khorasan,........

© Foreign Policy


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