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ISIS threat returns from Afghanistan after Taliban takeover

While the Taliban movement was working to extend its control over Kabul, the Afghan capital was subjected to a bloody attack that was claimed by the local branch of ISIS, in a blow that once again highlights the strength of this extremist group and raises the fears of the West.

About one hundred civilians and 13 American soldiers were killed in the bombing near Kabul Airport on August 26, the deadliest attack against the United States forces since 2011 in Afghanistan and the largest against the American army carried out by ISIS in Afghanistan.

The attack took place days before the trial in Paris of those accused of the November 13, 2015 attacks that killed 130 people, which were claimed by the “ISIS” organization, when it was at the height of its power, and as the United States prepares to commemorate the September 11 attacks, begins in Paris. (September) 2001.

Although al-Qaeda, the opponent of the Islamic State group, claimed the largest attack in modern history against the United States, it was a source of inspiration for extremists of all affiliations, according to Agence France-Presse.

“Western intelligence agencies should be on the alert already (…), extremists have called for more attacks on the West,” said Catherine Zimmerman, an analyst at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute.

But the main source of danger has changed, especially since the collapse of the “caliphate states” under the strikes of the international coalition. According to analysts interviewed by Agence France-Presse, ISIS may not be able at the current stage to launch an attack in the West, similar to the complex attack in 2015 in Paris.

Despite this, its local branches in Nigeria, Mali and Yemen remain active, while the organization in Iraq, the most active in the world, claimed on Sunday the killing of 13 federal police officers.

ISIS, which is active on social networks, has experience in how to mobilize fighters, especially thanks to its coherent rhetoric. The security services know that they cannot guarantee that a supporter of the organization will not carry out a lonely attack such as Friday’s attack in New Zealand.

In Kabul, the ISIS attack was more symbolic because it took place despite US President Joe Biden’s warning of the possibility of a strike.

And a researcher at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris, Jean-Pierre Filiu, points out that “Washington’s inability to prevent such a publicly announced attack, allows ISIS-Khorasan to exaggerate its ability to carry out bloody strikes.” And (the Taliban) created a security hole that extremist attackers can exploit.”

ISIS supporters were quick to take advantage of the attack in the Afghan capital. The extremist group “Demolition of Fences” said that “Kabel is ours”, putting the Americans and “Taliban apostates” in the same category.

ISIS-K is currently considered “the fourth most active organization in the world since the beginning of the year,” as the expert on the group’s affairs, known on Twitter as “Mr. Q”, indicated to Agence France-Presse that the attack on Kabul “re-organises (ISIS).” ) – Wilayat Khorasan to the heart of political and media attention.

In eastern Syria, cells are still active and carry out operations from time to time. “Between 2019 and 2020, the organization began training its members to carry out this type of attack outside Iraq and Syria, and perhaps outside the Middle East,” according to the American diplomat and former special envoy of the international coalition against ISIS, James. Jeffrey.

With this in mind, Western countries are keeping their eyes open on the possibility of attacks. At the end of August, French President Emmanuel Macron called from Iraq not to falter, because the organization “still poses a threat.”

Biden also vowed to the “ISIS” organization in Afghanistan to respond further, saying: “To the organization (ISIS-Khorasan Province): We have not finished with you yet.”

Zimmerman warned that if the organization is left unchecked, “it is not difficult (…) for the terrorist threat in Afghanistan to grow and extend to the region and even to the West.”