At least five dead in Kabul: Like the Taliban, only more extreme

In Afghanistan, the local branch of “Islamic State” has carried out another bloody attack. The Taliban are not consistent enough for the group.

A Taliban guard with a gun on the street

A member of the Taliban security forces near the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the attack Photo: Wakil Kohsar/afp

BERLIN taz | The attacker chose the end of the day for his attack. Shortly before 4 p.m. local time on Wednesday, he blew himself up at a side entrance to the Kabul Foreign Ministry after trying unsuccessfully to get into the building with a bag and a gun on his shoulder. An eyewitness told Afghan media.

At least five people died in the attack, according to the Taliban. The “Islamic State – Khorasan Province” (ISKP)the regional branch of the global terrorist network IS active in Afghanistan and Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack and claimed that 20 people were killed.

Former ministry employees who are now in exile posted photos of their colleagues who had died on social media, suggesting a higher death toll.

Stefano Sozza, country director of the Italian non-governmental organization Emergency, which runs the largest hospital for war victims in Kabul, said more than 40 people injured in the attack had been admitted. It was “the first attack in 2023 with mass casualties,” he said, and “certainly the one with the most patients since early 2022.”

ISKP also acts against Taliban allies

However, ISKP also had to unite attack reported at the entrance to the military section of Kabul airport on January 1, resulting in an unknown number of casualties.

ISKP committed since the Taliban takeover repeated attacks on their structures and security forces. The group accuses the Taliban of not being consistent enough in establishing an Islamic system and of vying for international recognition.

Most recently, ISKP also took action against the main international allies of the Taliban. In December, the group attempted to assassinate the chargé d’affaires at the Pakistani embassy in Kabul. In the same month, ISKP militants stormed a Kabul hotel occupied by Chinese businessmen, injuring five of them.

In September, an IS fighter blew himself up in front of the Russian embassy, ​​killing two civilians and two Russian employees. However, the main targets remain the large Shia and other religious minorities.

ISKP receives support from Pakistan

ISKP no longer has a significant social base in the country since the group had turned Salafist village communities in parts of eastern Afghanistan against itself so much during a multi-year reign of terror that they called on the Taliban and the troops of the then government for help.

In coordinated offensives, the two parties, which were actually enemies, pushed ISKP out of their bases in the provinces of Kunar and Nangrahar. However, the group apparently still has retreats in remote mountain valleys in this region.

It also apparently receives support from militant anti-Shiite groups groups from Pakistanwhich have been operating in the border area for decades.

The Taliban are systematically taking action against the milieu sympathetic to the ISKP

The biggest recruiter, however, is likely to be the regime’s violence against the Islamist opponent. The Taliban systematically target ISKP-sympathetic milieus, Salafist preachers, mosques and communities in Afghanistan’s cities, including Kabul. There were also group executions.

Brutality breeds more brutality

Similar already recruited the Taliban, as the Western troops and their Afghan allies found out during their 20-year war. The US campaign to “behead” the Taliban by killing, launched under President Barack Obama and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, targeted not only Taliban leaders, but also those in the second and third ranks.

This not only ensured a new influx, but also a new generation of fighters with anti-Western radicalization. That could be repeated now – albeit in a miniature version.

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