Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

Successive Attacks on West of Kabul


Successive Attacks on West of Kabul

After a few weeks of relative calm, once again Daesh Takfiri terrorist group targeted west of Kabul as security forces have apparently failed to protect people against the cruel group. Daesh, that has been behind the several past bombings in the west of Kabul, quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, identifying the bomber as Qari’ Umar al-Peshawari, that implies he was from Peshawar, Pakistan. Over 70 people were killed including five children, 21 women and nearly 120 others wounded in the attack, which was carried out at the doorway of an identity card distribution and voters registration center in Kabul’s Dasht-e-Barchi area. According to UNAMA, in addition to last attack, the “direct attacks against the Shia population” caused “154 civilian casualties (49 deaths and 105 injured)” during the first three months of 2018 and “nearly all” of these were attributed to “suicide and complex attacks claimed by” the so-called Islamic State’s Khorasan province.
In recent years, Hazara Muslims have been successively targeted in a series of deadly bombings and several large-scale kidnappings across Afghanistan, which have prompted demonstrations and sit-ins in Kabul and elsewhere. In late December last year, killed at least 41 people and wounded dozens. In July 2016, at least 80 Shia Muslims were killed in two bomb blasts carried out by Daesh in Kabul. In November of the same year, at least 27 people were killed after a large bomb explosion hit a Shia mosque in the Afghan capital. However, this is the fourth attacks on such centers since voter registration for October’s parliamentary elections began last week. The aim of the Islamic State and groups of its ilk is to scare the people of Afghanistan into staying away from polls, further weakening the government and striking at the legitimacy of democracy.
The Islamic State has made a habit of going after minority groups, particularly Shias. A day after their attack, the Taliban killed 14 soldiers and police officers in the western Baghdis province. Taken together, the two attacks show the different kind of threats posed by the two main militant groups in Afghanistan. The Takfiri group aims to spread fear among the Afghan population, choosing targets which will inflict maximum civilian casualties. The Taliban, on the other hand, goes after the state, hoping to weaken the government and law enforcement as it tries to gain control of more territory.
Moreover, the Takfiri group has another explicit goal targeting certain group of people to create sectarian tension in the country. This is a country where sectarian tensions have been relatively muted in the past but the relentless onslaught of Takfiri attacks could change that. Most of its fighters are foreign, recruited from the ranks of the TTP and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Despite being an essentially foreign force, in the last couple of years it has been able to expand from Nangarhar province in the east to much of the north and northeast of the country. The challenge for the government is to eliminate this militant group. It is said that, some outside countries have talked to the Afghan Taliban in the hope of joining it to defeat the Takfiri group. Since the Taliban and Takfiri are implacably opposed to each other, there is a line of thinking that believes that the Taliban should be used to defeat this even deadlier threat. The problem for the Afghan government though is that the Taliban continues to target it, making even a partnership of convenience impossible. There are no good options available here to the government but it must formulate a plan of action soon, before create more distrusts and weakened even further.
To add to the war-torn country’s distresses, Daesh has also established a foothold in eastern and northern Afghanistan. The terrorist group has mostly been populating the eastern province of Nangarhar, from where they can carry out high-profile brutal attacks at major population centers across the country which has caused doubts and questions which remained unanswered yet. Daesh began establishing presence in Afghanistan almost a year after making sweeping land grabs in Iraq and Syria in 2014. The Takfiri terrorist group took advantage of the ongoing chaos in Afghanistan and recruited some of its fighters from among Taliban defectors. According to some reports, Daesh is present in nine provinces from Nangarhar and Kunar in the east to Jawzjan, Faryab, and Badakhshan in the north and Ghor in the central west.
In final, both government and the international allies are responsible to devise fundamental measures so as to protect people, especially in the election democratic process. However, they talked of Kabul security plan and also had pledged tight security to ensure the process proceeded safely. But those caught by Sunday’s attack voiced frustration at what many Kabul residents see as government shortcomings in securing the capital. According to UN figures, more than 750 people have been killed or maimed in suicide attacks and bombings by militant groups during the three months to March ahead of an expected start of the Taliban’s usual spring offensive. The government has set up more than 7,000 centers across the country to handle some 10 million voter registrations for upcoming elections but Election officials have acknowledged that security is a major concern as the Taliban and other militant groups control large swathes of the country, and some officials have speculated that elections could be delayed if there are major disruptions to the registration process. Several attacks have already been reported on registration centers since the process began on April 14 ahead of a long-delayed parliamentary elections scheduled for October.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

Go Top