ISIS Claims Responsibility for Kabul Attack – But Did They Act Alone?

I have read article after article trying to find someone who can explain to me why all of the sudden ISIS, or ISIS-K would launch an attack at Kabul airport on Thursday. Sure they took responsibility for it, but why.

From the UK Guardian we read: 

“Isis claimed the attacker came within five metres of American troops who were overseeing the collection of documents of those seeking to leave Afghanistan on evacuation flights before detonating the device.”

OK. so what does that mean? They take credit, but don’t offer a reason. Why not?

Let see what Reuter’s says about the ordeal.

“In claiming responsibility, Islamic State said a suicide bomber “managed to reach a large gathering of translators and collaborators with the American army at ‘Baran Camp’ near Kabul Airport and detonated his explosive belt among them, killing about 60 people and wounding more than 100 others, including Taliban fighters.” 

The motive?

According to the Taliban it was connected to the arrest of an ISIS member who was interrogated:

“A Taliban official told Reuters the group arrested an ISIS fighter at the airport a few days ago and under interrogation he told them about plans for attacks.”

We can assume that at some point the ISIS captive may have revealed why ISIS was planning on launching an attack that would kill 170 people, including 13 or more U.S. serviceman, but we again are left without a clear motive as to why the “archenemy” of the Taliban would launch an attack that would serve no strategic purpose except to get Americans angry as they are trying to exit from the country. 

Would you launch an attack against an adversary you know is leaving the fight? 

Kabul Airport as citizens seek to help the wounded (Hindustan Times)

Let’s see if NPR can shed some light on this terrible event:

According to a recorded report, President Biden was informed about the possible attack, possibly being told about the attack from the Taliban, who we are told extracted the information from an ISIS member.

While NPR explains who ISIS-K is, they do not have any additional intel as to why the attacks occurred, again, as the Americans were trying to leave.

Now granted, perhaps ISIS leadership wanted to assert itself by blowing up Afghans, they could be that ignorant I suppose, but what THEY said about the attack seems to be hard to find anywhere.

Wait. The people at ABC News may have an answer. 

“Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the group stands against the Taliban and al-Qaida as well as the U.S.

Their objective is to wantonly attack the U.S. because they see the U.S. as their main enemy,” he said. “Also, I think it’s designed to embarrass the Taliban as well. ISIS attempted to move in and establish a base in Afghanistan to compete with the Taliban. Their ideologies are pretty much the same. It’s more of a power struggle than an ideological or religious one.”

So according to ABC’s expert. ISIS wanted to embarrass the Taliban and because America is also the enemy, they wanted to get another dig before we left? Bear in mind ISIS has not issued a formal statement that we know of, just a quick statement saying they did it and a picture of the “martyr” who blew himself up.

Hoffman’s speculation is just that, speculation.

Hoffman adds a little more detail to his explanation:

“The current upheaval and chaos in Afghanistan presents them with a myriad of new opportunities to draw attention to themselves and their cause and basically punish all their enemies — the U.S. but also the Taliban and al-Qaeda as well.”

So that’s it. They want to hurt as while they still can? Misfits from a fringe group calling themselves ISIS-K, just stirring up trouble.

My intellect doesn’t see the logic in this explanation. I am also finding it hard to believe the informant the Taliban didn’t reveal more valuable information like, oh, I don’t know, when and where the attack was going to take place?!

I have a better explanation to the attacks at Karzai airport.

The only people saying ISIS-K did it are the Taliban. Perhaps ISIS-K was allowed to take credit, perhaps the Taliban even allowed them to move forward because the event was in an area of the airport not under control by the Taliban but by the U.S. military, and there were hundreds of Afghans attempting to flee the country via the airport.

All of the major media reported ISIS is behind it. The source: the Taliban.

Even ISIS said “the attacker came within five metres of American troops who were overseeing the collection of documents of those seeking to leave Afghanistan on evacuation flights before detonating the device.”

Great detail coming from a group who had no way of knowing the victims had a “collection of papers from Afghan citizens” trying to flee the country.

ISIS to date has offered no real explanation for the blast. Even the Hindustan Times is short on an explanation, nor do they offer any additional ISIS statements. 

Something is missing.

It makes more sense that a) The Taliban knew there was going to be an attack and they allowed it, or b) even coordinated it in advance to send a clear message to all Afghans: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO LEAVE YOUR COUNTRY.

If ISIS-K had any brains they would have simply blown up one or two runways making it impossible for anyone to leave, and then rush in for the kill. Thgat would have been a smart strategy.

Instead, they had access to the American side of the airport and they went in knowing they would take out mostly Afghans and a few Americans for good measure.

Maybe we should ask the Taliban for some clarification since it is apparent the mainstream media now considers them a reliable source.

Jim Watkins is a news journalist and host of the Candidly Speaking podcast

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