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Afghanistan Terror: The Nightmarish End to US’ Role in Kabul



airport, Afghanistan terror: The nightmarish end to US' role in Kabul

Hours before an attack targeted a gate at Kabul International Airport and a nearby hotel, there had not only been warnings but those warnings were dismissed by some as a conspiracy. The warnings of a terrorist threat were dismissed as too convenient, coming just days before the US had to leave Kabul.

A threat would give western countries that are trying to evacuate people an excuse to wrap things up sooner. The “threat is real,” tweeted Colin Clarke, an expert on ISIS and terrorism who is the Director of Policy and Research at The Soufan Group.

The developing reports on Thursday evening, including graphic and horrid videos of the massacre caused by the attack, illustrate how the end of the US role in Afghanistan is now being paved in nightmarish blood. Weeks in which the US appeared to think that leaving could be done with no casualties and that a newfound modus vivendi with the Taliban might even make peace possible, exploded on August 26.

The threat to the airport and the evacuation was known. ISIS in Afghanistan, often known as “ISIS-K” was considered a threat and there were warnings. What transpired was an attack that reportedly involved suicide bombs and shooting that massacred Afghans who were seeking to leave.

Tragically the threats were dismissed by some people, including journalists, who claimed that the timing appeared strange. Why would there suddenly be an ISIS threat, when all had gone well the last several weeks, some asked. It turned out the threat was very real. Twelve US troops were reported killed and 17 injured and numerous people were killed.

American’s stranded in Kabul

The attack also came as the US administration of Joe Biden was continuing to try to push its narrative the Americans were not stranded in Kabul and that the evacuation had been a success. It had indeed been a success in a sense, large numbers of people, up to 100,000, were able to leave Kabul.

But it would have been better to plan this than have to do it at the last minute. The Taliban had also dictated terms to the US, demanding the US leave by August 31. The White House had stuck with its decision and was preparing to get several thousand US troops out by Monday.

Other fears remain in Kabul, besides the threat of more shooting attacks or bombings. Taliban members and others apparently shooting in the air, have led to concerns about departing aircraft. A rocket attack was also feared.

Considering the huge number of Taliban checkpoints that have been reported in Kabul, and the difficulty that people trying to flee face getting to the airport, questions will remain about how the attack on August 26 was carried out.

US troops at Kabul

The immediate effect of the attack is unclear. With masses of people wounded and killed in the most sensitive area near the gate to the airport, areas where scenes of people waiting in sewage and pressing against a fence to get into the airport have been seen in recent days, it will be unclear how that area can be secured against future attacks.

The motivations behind the attack are also worth questioning. ISIS has carried out many brutal attacks, including genocide, in the past. ISIS is not averse to massacre and mass murder. But, if the attack is ISIS, the reasoning and target may be less clear.

It apparently was directed at killing as many Americans as possible. Was it the gate to the airport and the hotel and foreigners who might have been in the area? Were they trying to get closer to US forces?

Were they also targeting crowds because they believed the crowds to be made up of either Shi’ites or Sunni “collaborators?” ISIS is a jihadist extremist organization rooted in Sunni extremist supremacism. It massacred Shi’ites in Iraq in 2014, for instance. It remains to be seen if ISIS will provide a video and explanation.

The Jerusalem Post

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