An ISIS suicide bomber attacked a polling station in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, killing at least 57 and wounding 119. The April 22 attack was in a Shiite area, targeted as such by the Sunni terror group. Twenty-one of the dead were women and five were children, waiting with their parents who were voting in legislative elections.
ISIS is a rising force in Afghanistan, attempting to sow discord with the government, draw fighters away from the Taliban and use the country’s rugged terrain to elude American and coalition forces. From the ashes of defeat in Iraq and (to a lesser extent) Syria, the group managed to successfully reposition itself, making Afghanistan its new international base.
Recent research estimates the Afghani government controls only 30 percent of the country – the rest belongs to the Taliban and now ISIS. With its porous borders to Pakistan and support from terrorists there, Afghanistan has become the latest haven – and launching pad – for terrorism, not just in the country itself but for global operations, including terror attacks on the U.S. homeland.
For example, a number of plots to attack New York City – including the 2016 plan to slaughter civilians using firearms and suicide bombs in Times Square — were coordinated by ISIS’ Wilayat Khorasan operation in Afghanistan. (That plot – which involved a cell of international operatives from Pakistan, Canada and the Philippines — was foiled when one of the ISIS operatives was caught attempting to cross into the U.S. from the Canadian border.)
ISIS’ operation in Afghanistan ranges from indoctrinating schools and terror-training camps for children to its reconstructed, slick media center. ISIS propaganda used to radicalize the next generation now originates from Afghanistan.
Once this media hits cyberspace, its influence knows no bounds – from youth in America to the Middle East to Asia and beyond.
As early as 2015, ISIS in Afghanistan began to recruit local Taliban members to its cause. Now locals report that ISIS fighters from France, Sudan, Chechnya, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan are in Afghanistan recruiting and training children to be suicide bombers.
As American enters year 17 of its war in Afghanistan (the longest running war in U.S. history), troops are encountering ISIS yet again, only this time in a country that makes them much more difficult to contain, leading one to wonder if our children, the offspring of these brave men and women, will also be engaged in fighting this same enemy.
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