Multiple casualties after explosion at Kabul airport
August 26, 2021 - U.S. officials say an explosion has occurred outside Kabul’s airport, after Western nations had warned of a possible attack there from the so-called Islamic State group’s affiliate in Afghanistan.
American military and intelligence analysts say threats from the Islamic State Khorasan group – also known as ISIS-K – include a bomb-laden truck, suicide bombers infiltrating the crowd outside Hamid Karzai International Airport and mortar strikes against the airfield.
ISIS-K was formed by disaffected fighters from Pakistani Taliban, following the creation in 2014 of a caliphate in Iraq and Syria by the so-called Islamic State group.
ISIS-K is said to have around 1,500-2,000 fighters in Nuristan, Kunar and Nangarhar provinces, with cells across Afghanistan, including Kabul.
The group is headed since Jun 2020 by Shahab al-Muhajir. The ISIS-K founding emir, Hafiz Saeed Khan, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2016.
ISIS-K criticises the Taliban’s version of Islamic rule as insufficiently hard line, and denounces their deal with the U.S. over troop withdrawals.
ISIS-K was responsible for 77 attacks in Afghanistan in the first four months of this year – up from 21 in the same period in 2020, according to the UN. The school bombing in Kabul in May 2021, killed 80 schoolgirls.
- Afghans told to leave Kabul airport over 'very credible' Islamic State threat (Reuters)
- ISIS Branch Poses Biggest Immediate Terror Threat to Evacuation in Kabul (NYT)
- Islamic State Khorasan (Center for Strategic and International Studies)
- Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Afghanistan (UN Security Council)
- Pentagon says there were two explosions at Kabul airport, with casualties (Reuters)