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ISIS has claimed responsibility for the devastating twin attacks that hit Kabul, killing at least 72 people.
The group released a statement claiming responsibility for its Telegram account on Thursday, following today’s attacks.
The two explosions, one of which hit the door of the Kabul airport abbey and the other the Baron hotel, were attributed to ISIS-K, a regional affiliate of the so-called Islamic State that operates in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
ISIS-K’s Abdul Rehman Al-Loghri was the suicide bomber responsible for the explosion at Abbey Gate, according to ISIS. The Gate is manned by American and British troops.
The explosions killed at least 72 people, including 12 US servicemen, and injured more than 140 more.
Founded in 2015, ISIS-K supporters aim to establish an Islamic caliphate in Khorasan (hence the initial ‘K’), a historic region that covers Pakistan and Afghanistan along with parts of Central Asia.
Ahead of Thursday’s attacks, the US warned that the group would likely target the thousands of people gathered at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport as they try to flee the country after the Taliban takeover on August 15 and earlier. of the August 31 deadline for the withdrawal of US and NATO Forces.
The organization has already carried out approximately 100 attacks against civilian targets and another 250 involving US, Afghan or Pakistani security services, most of them recorded via mobile phone videos and then broadcast online.
In May, ISIS-K killed at least 68 Afghans and wounded 165 others when they detonated three car bombs outside the Syed Al-Shahda girls’ school in Kabul.
The vast majority of the victims were young students who the Islamist group considers legitimate targets because they do not believe that women and girls should be educated.
The attack came after a period in which Western airstrikes had killed thousands of supporters of the terrorist network and at least three of its leaders.
The organization’s first chosen emir or leader was a former Pakistani Taliban commander named Hafiz Saeed Khan, who was assassinated in 2016.
Its infantrymen were largely Taliban deserters, as was its astute public relations chief, Sheikh Maqbool, who was tasked with ensuring that the group’s attacks gained global attention.
They were appointed at the behest of ISIS’s (then) main dog, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was facing difficulties on his lands in Syria and Iraq, so they began funneling cash to Khan to establish a new stronghold in the East.
Khan’s successor, Abdul Hasib
Initially, their activities were limited to suicide bombings and small arms attacks against civilians, along with occasional kidnappings.
Khan’s successor, Abdul Hasib, was famous both for ordering fighters to behead local elders in front of their families and for kidnapping women and girls who were then forced to ‘marry’ their fighters, effectively becoming s*x slaves. .
He was killed in a special forces raid on his compound in which two American soldiers were killed in April 2017.
Later that month, the US dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal, a massive GBU-43 artillery air blast (MOAB), also known as the ‘Mother of all bombs’, on a key system. of ISIS-K tunnels and caves in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. About 100 of his troops died.
Then a series of drone strikes wiped out Hasib’s successors, Abu Sayed and Abu Saad Orakzai, and roughly 80 percent of the group’s troops, reducing their estimated strength from three to four thousand to less than 800. followers by the end of 2018.
However, like many militant groups, they have since proven almost impossible to eliminate completely.
The deaths of successive leaders have ended up being largely symbolic, as they have been quickly replaced by seasoned comrades sent from other ISIS strongholds.
New infantrymen have been recruited through stylish propaganda videos describing their global aspirations to create an Islamist caliphate in Asia, governed by Sharia law, before eventually ‘[hoisting] the al-Uqab flag over Jerusalem and the White House’.
The current leader of the group is believed to be Shahab al-Muhajir, also known as Sanaullah.
A United Nations report released in February said he took office in June 2020.
Sanaullah is currently believed to have little or no ability to mount terrorist attacks in the West.
Instead, he is focused on a mission to rid Afghanistan and other parts of his home territory of foreign “crusaders” who “proselytize Muslims” as well as “apostates.”
Abdul Rehman Al-Loghri Quicks and Facts
- Group posted a statement on Telegram claiming responsibility for the twin blasts
- At least 72 people have been killed, including twelve US servicemen
- One explosion hit Kabul airport from where thousands are trying to evacuate
- The blasts had been blamed on ISIS-K, a regional affiliate in Afghanistan