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Afghanistan – At least 30 people were killed on Wednesday, in a six-hour attack, carried by gunmen dressed as doctors on Afghanistan’s largest military hospital. Around 50 others were also wounded in the assault on the Sardar Daud Khan hospital. Loud explosions and continuous gunfire rattled Kabul’s diplomatic district as dense clouds of smoke rose in the sky.

Afghan Taliban and ISIS are considered enemies in the context of Afghanistan. Afghan Taliban are a historical ethnic entity, rooted inside the political divide of a multi-ethnic country, deriving support from majority Pashtun population (around 50%) of Afghanistan since 1994. Other large ethnic identities are Tajiks (23%) Uzbeks (11%) and Hazaras (5% or less).

Three gunmen wearing white laboratory coats, in an attempt to look like hospital staff, began spraying bullets after a suicide bomber on foot blew himself up at the backdoor entrance. Bomber managed to create sudden chaos inside the 400-bed facility, providing an opportunity for the other attackers. Attack thus represented increasing sophistication by the terrorists in the region.

At least two other loud explosions – including what the defense ministry called a car bomb in the hospital’s parking lot – were heard as Afghan special forces launched a clearance operation that lasted around six hours. The attackers were gunned down after special forces landed on the roof of the hospital in a military helicopter.

Read more: Pakistan warns the US, Afghanistan could be the next Syria

ISIS accepted responsibility for the attack

ISIS on the other hand is a new phenomenon that first appeared in Syria and Iraq as ISIL around 2012. ISIS is a pan-Islamist movement with declarations of an international Khilafa around the world. Many analysts look at the presence of ISIS in the region – Afghanistan and Pakistan – with deep suspicion.

After the gruesome attack, Islamic State Khorasan, local name quoted for ISIS in Afghanistan, posted a message on social media accepting the responsibility for the attack on the military hospital. The assault comes just a week after 16 people were killed in simultaneous Taliban suicide assaults on two security compounds in Kabul. Dozens of others were wounded as a suicide car bomber struck an Afghan police precinct in western Kabul and a five-hour gun battle ensued after another attacker sneaked in. In the second attack last week, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the gates of an Afghan intelligence agency branch in eastern Kabul.

But Afghan Taliban and ISIS are considered enemies in the context of Afghanistan. Afghan Taliban are a historical ethnic entity, rooted inside the political divide of a multi-ethnic country, deriving support from majority Pashtun population (around 50%) of Afghanistan since 1994. Other large ethnic identities are Tajiks (23%) Uzbeks (11%) and Hazaras (5% or less). ISIS, on the other hand, is a new phenomenon that first appeared in Syria and Iraq as ISIL around 2012. ISIS is a pan-Islamist movement with declarations of an international Khalifa around the world. Many analysts look at the presence of ISIS in the region – Afghanistan, and Pakistan – with deep suspicion. It is feared that hidden hands are trying to raise a new entity to sustain conflict in the region, while old entities have lost their brand value.

Read more: Pakistan compelled to strike in Afghanistan against ISIS?

Kabul last month endorsed US General John Nicholson’s call for thousands of additional coalition troops to hold off the militants before the spring offensive. Extra troops were needed to end the stalemate in the war, Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, told the US Congress that more troops are needed to beef up the limited strength of around 8500 soldiers the US has on the ground in Afghanistan. This could be President Donald Trump’s first major test of military strategy.

1 COMMENT

  1. Stupid afghanis should understand that when they lose their loved ones we feel very sad we don’t celebrate like Indians or blame Islam for it we have common enemies common culture and common interests stop proxies against Pakistan it’s not in our interests Pakistanis are craving for peace and prosperity and we know this comes with peace in Afghanistan but if you hook up with Indians then you wait for more tragedies in future
    But we condem such attacks against defenseless ppl in hospital it’s so cruel that these attackers can’t be Muslims.

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