ISIS attack Saturday leaves 63 dead and more than 180 wounded in the deadliest attack of the year for the Afghan capital
The Islamic State (ISIS) attack, which left 63 dead and more than 180 wounded at a local wedding in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Saturday night, was the deadliest attack in the Afghan capital this year and raises big questions for President Trump’s plans to withdraw U.S. troops from the region. Witnesses say the attacker “ran toward the stage where a band was playing the drums and detonated a suicide vest” among the crowded halls of about 1,200 guests (The Los Angeles Times, 2019). ~
The attack comes amid a time in which months of negotiations have been taking place between the Taliban and the Trump administration in which the U.S. would pull out an estimated 20,000, or over 50%, of their international troops in Afghanistan in exchange for the Taliban’s pledge not to permit any other Islamic extremist groups from settling in the region, the New York Times reports. But according to American and Iraqui military and intelligence officers, just five months after the US pushed the Islamic State out of its last territories in Syria, the terrorist group is “gathering new strength, conducting guerrilla attacks across Iraq and Syria, retooling its financial networks and targeting new recruits at an allied-run tent camp,” which raises major concerns on the abilities of the Taliban to keep other Islamic extremist groups out of Afghanistan (The Los Angeles Times, 2019). ~
Although Taliban leaders, who have launched violent attacks in recent months of their own agendas, claim they are prepared to approach the negotiating table, there is no clear evidence that the U.S. pulling out of the region in a deal with the Taliban would result in less violence in the region due to other extremist groups such as the Islamic State continuing to kill large groups of civilians. The U.S. State Department said in a statement Sunday that “The Afghan people deserve a future free from terror. That is why it is time for all Afghans to join in the #AfghanPeaceProcess and build a united front against the menace of ISIS.” ~
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