Jerusalem – Washington
Terror hit Kabul and chose the point that everyone has looked at since the arrival of the Emirate: the Hamid Karzai International Airport. The intelligence services of the United Kingdom and the States warned on Wednesday of the “real threat” of an attack at the gates of the airfield and all to the point that the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) turned these words into reality by killing at least 13 people and injuring more than 50, according to the Taliban, with a double bang. Thousands of people were still there waiting for a rescue plane to take them out of the country.The anxiety to leave the Taliban behind was overcome by appeals from the Pentagon asking them to move away as soon as possible from the access doors. .
The United States ambassador in Kabul has informed the American diplomatic personnel in Afghanistan that four American soldiers from the Marine Corps have been killed in one of the explosions at the city’s airport, and three others were injured, a senior official with knowledge of those conversations told several US media. The newspaper ‘
The Wall Street Journal‘has revealed those communications and the number of casualties.
This same week, Western governments had repeatedly warned of an imminent attack by the Islamic State and recently urged their citizens not to approach the airport. After the explosions occurred on Thursday, the US embassy has urged all US citizens to leave the airport entrances immediately.
In the absence of official confirmation, the intelligence services point to an IS whose men came on time to his appointment with the death and carried out their first operation since the arrival of the emirate, thus challenging the image of security and strength that the Taliban want to convey to the world. All countries are vulnerable to the hit of a suicide, including one led by Taliban who for years have commanded an army of kamikazes. The only thing that does not change is that civilians are always the great victims.
The modus operandi was the same one that jihadists have employed over and over again since they began operating in Afghanistan.. A suicide bomber in an explosives vest blew himself up at Abbey gate, that since the fall of Kabul to the Taliban has been the main access point for the evacuation of Americans and their collaborators for the last two decades. When all eyes turned to that place and people tried to help the victims, the second explosion occurred, this time it seems that It was a car bomb, about 300 meters away and next to the Baron hotel, the base used by the British to coordinate their evacuations. The international forces that remain deployed at the airport to coordinate the final stretch of the evacuation immediately withdrew from the access doors and sealed off the area in which they are deployed inside the aerodrome.
Worst fear of Joe Biden it came true with this explosion and plunged the White House into a frenzy that only occurs in the worst crises of a presidency. After receiving the news that the two explosions at the Kabul airport, where American forces and civilians who want to flee the Taliban are amassed, the president of the United States canceled his agenda and met with his national security team in the crisis room, with the priority of extracting the thousand remaining Americans in Afghanistan before the August 31 deadline.
The truth is that the president had warned of a possible attack by the Islamic State in Kabul on at least three occasions this week alone, identifying it as the greatest threat to both the US and the Taliban themselves.
As a White House official told ABC, “the president met with his national security team, including the secretary of state, Antony Blink; the secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin; the head of the joint staff, Mark Milley, and commanders on the ground in Afghanistan and will continue to receive updates on developments.
Biden was informed by commanders that the two explosions affected Americans, and then the president postponed his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftalí Bennet and canceled a virtual meeting with American governors to discuss the distribution of Afghan refugees.
On August 20, Biden said in a speech to the nation that there was a “terrorist threat in or around the airport, from Islamic State militiamen in Afghanistan who were released from prison when the prisons were emptied.” On several occasions Biden has said that “the Islamic State in Afghanistan is a sworn enemy of the Taliban.” On August 22, the president himself added that “every day there are troops on the ground, and these innocent troops and civilians at the airport face the risk of an attack by the Islamic State.”
The Taliban reacted through their spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid who insisted that “we have committed ourselves that this country is not a base for terrorist groups and we were the ones who alerted the United States of a possible IS attack». The Islamists achieved a quick military victory against an Afghan Army that barely offered resistance, but now it is their turn to dominate the internal demons that threaten the stability of the Emirate such as IS. After the fall of Kabul, the followers of the ‘caliph’ spoke of a ‘false victory’ and said in their magazine ‘Al Naba’ that ‘the United States has restored the government of the Taliban’.
The local arm of IS is called the Islamic State of Khorasan, the historical name of a region that they claim as part of their ‘caliphate’, which would include Pakistan. It is made up of jihadists splintered from the Taliban, who swore allegiance to the ‘caliph’, Abu Baker Al Bagdadi, after the self-proclamation of the caliphate in Syria and Iraq in 2014 and its stronghold is in Nangarhar province, in the east of the country. Afghanistan thus became one more ‘province’ of the caliphate along with Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Pakistan, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, countries in which different groups also showed loyalty to the ‘caliph’. Their black flags began to replace the white flags of the Emirate in its strongholds, although little by little they had to go underground because the Taliban are a much stronger and more organized group in the country.
The big difference in the way they act is that, on paper at least, the Taliban attacks were directed at the security forces and government institutions, trying not to act indiscriminately so as not to lose their broad base of support. popular. The IS, on the other hand, has followed since its arrival the tactic it uses in the Middle East and directly hits civilians, especially in areas inhabited by the Hazara minority, followers of the Shiite branch of Islam.
The United States has fought ISIS since its emergence, and the first major blow came in February 2015, when a drone missile killed Mullah Rauf, the first major Taliban commander to break with the group to swear. loyalty to the caliph. In 2017, the Americans made headlines in the world press when they announced that they used ‘the mother of all bombs’, the GBU-43 / B against an IS base and killed at least 100 fighters, according to sources from the Afghan Army. .
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This double attack it ended up complicating the chaotic withdrawal of the United States. With the deadline of the 31st at the gates, countries such as Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands had already concluded their flights even before the attack and the NATO countries assume that thousands of their collaborators will remain on the ground after the expense of the Emirate letting them leave as of September 1 on commercial flights. This is the promise made by Islamists for all those who have a foreign visa.
While the Kabul airport is still awaiting evacuations and the departure of international forces, the Kandahar airport was once again operational and received a flight from Doctors Without Borders (MSF)