Another terror attack in Kabul

Another terror attack in Kabul
AP Photo/Hamed Sarfarazi

If you sadly happen to still have any friends or family trapped in Afghanistan, the situation on the ground really hasn’t improved much even though the media has largely stopped covering the story. After assuring the United States that they could “take care of” ISIS-K without our help, the Taliban doesn’t really seem to have that great of a handle on what the terrorists are up to. ISIS managed to pull off another bombing attack this week, this time striking a hospital right in the capital of Kabul. A military hospital was attacked and it was a fairly major blast, killing more than two dozen people and injuring at least a dozen others. The bomber was backed up by armed gunmen and the site of the brazen attack was located in one of the more affluent neighborhoods in the city. (NY Times)

At least 25 people were killed and more than a dozen were wounded during an attack on a military hospital in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Tuesday, according to local officials, with gunfire and explosions echoing throughout the city into the afternoon.

The attack, which included armed gunmen and at least one suicide bomber, targeted the 400-bed Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan military hospital in one of Kabul’s more affluent neighborhoods, where both wounded soldiers who fought for the former government and Taliban fighters were being treated.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, said the attack was carried out by several members of the Islamic State, including a suicide bomber who detonated his explosives at the gate to the hospital.

The Taliban are blaming ISIS for this, but that doesn’t seem to have been definitely established. Also, there are a couple of details in the report that don’t really seem to fit the typical style of an ISIS attack.

First of all, even after a fair amount of time, ISIS hasn’t taken credit for the attack. If you can say one thing for those murderous maniacs, they’re generally prompt in getting the word out when they kill some people or blow something up. Some analysts have previously suggested that they even take credit for some attacks they had nothing to do with beyond “inspiring” the attackers. It’s just odd that they’re staying silent, though perhaps they’ll fess up later.

The next thing that caught my attention was that this wasn’t the typical “lone wolf” suicide bombing attack that we’re used to seeing. The ISIS attackers (if that’s who they were), arrived in waves and seemed quite organized. An initial suicide bomber detonated his bomb at the gate, but shortly thereafter, four armed fighters showed up on motorcycles to engage the Taliban fighters in the area. When more Taliban arrived a second bomb located in a car parked in front of the hospital went off. That’s how they managed to take out so many people.

Does that really fit the profile of an ISIS bombing attack? I suppose anything is possible, but with ISIS we’ve traditionally seen them either marching in large formations or sending single suicide bombers (including women and children) to infiltrate the target. This just seems… different somehow.

Of course, if it wasn’t ISIS, then who else would do it? It’s highly unlikely that it would be anyone from al Qaeda since ISIS has welcomed them with open arms. After that, the list of potential suspects in that region grows rather thin unless we’re going to start imagining some rogue mercenaries.

In any event, no matter who did it, the Taliban obviously doesn’t have the security situation in Kabul under control. They can’t even keep their own people safe, to say nothing of the non-Taliban Afghans and foreign nationals still stuck inside the country. It’s probably not too soon to be warming up the phrase “failed state” to describe Afghanistan because it certainly looks like that’s where we’re heading. Describing the situation in the capital as “chaos” would probably be overly generous.

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