Above Photo: ISISI-K fighters graduating at the Abu Umar al-Shishani training camp in Kunar, Afghanistan in 2017. (SITE Intel).
Regional Players Have Long Accused The US Of Supporting The Group With Midnight Helicopter Transport Into Afghanistan.
Washington — The list of governments, former government officials, and organizations in the region that have accused the US of supporting ISIS-K is expansive and includes the Russian government, the Iranian government, Syrian government media, Hezbollah, an Iraqi state-sponsored military outfit and even former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who called the group a “tool” of the United States as journalist Ben Norton recently noted, characterizing Karzai as “a former US puppet who later turned against the US, and knows many of its secrets.”
So what exactly is ISIS-K and what is it’s history? After ISIS’s Afghanistan variant became a household name overnight following a suicide bombing at Kabul’s airport that killed more than 170 people and wounded more than 200, the group’s history demands renewed scrutiny.
Back in May, I tweeted that “I must not be the only one expecting a so-called ‘rise of ISIS’ in Afghanistan in the near future…”
I wrote this because mass-casualty terrorist attacks are repeatedly used as justification by the United States for continuing its occupations of foreign countries: the “counterterrorism mission,” or the “terrorist threat.” And it has been a long time since the Taliban has taken credit for any such acts.
In fact, all the way back in August 2016 — a little over five years ago — Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Iranian media that “In cooperation with the nation, [the Taliban] has prevented the terrorist group from gaining a foothold in Afghanistan.”
— Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) August 28, 2021
The strongest argument in favor of a US withdrawal put forward by the Biden Administration is that the United States completed its counter-terrorism mission in Afghanistan. The attack by “ISIS-K” on the Kabul airport collapses this argument, and so it benefits those who would prefer to see Afghanistan permanently occupied by the US.
It’s also not the actions of a calculating terrorist group: why commit mass violence at such a critical juncture? Why do it when all eyes are on Afghanistan and many in the Pentagon, in NATO, are looking for any excuse to invade again?
CNN’s Clarissa Ward was even able to interview a “senior ISIS-K commander” two weeks before the attack who made these points. The “commander” told CNN that the group was “lying low and waiting for its moment to strike.”
While the US-backed government was still in power in Kabul, the ISIS-K “commander” told Ward that “it’s no problem for him to get through checkpoints and come right into the capital.” He even let the CNN crew film his entrance into the city.
In the absurd interview, CNN sat in a hotel room with the supposed ISIS-K leader and protected his identity. Ward asked him comically upfront questions like “are you interested, ultimately, in carrying out international attacks?”