Islamic State claims responsibility for suicide bombing in Kabul

The Islamic State’s Khorasan branch has claimed credit for a suicide bombing outside of the airport in Kabul earlier today. The group identifies the “martyr” (suicide bomber) as Abdul Rahman Al-Logari. Logar is a province in Afghanistan lying south of the capital.

The U.S. military said at least 13 U.S. service members were killed and 15 others wounded in attacks inside Kabul. Dozens of civilians were killed or wounded as well.

The suicide bomber discussed in the Islamic State’s claim attacked the Kabul airport’s Abbey Gate. A second blast was carried out at a nearby hotel, where civilians were looking to flee to the West.

The Islamic State’s claim was published by the group’s Amaq News Agency. Citing “military sources,” Amaq reports that a jihadist was able “to penetrate all the security fortifications” set up by American forces and the “Taliban militia around the capital” of Kabul. He then reached a “large gathering of translators and collaborators” working with the U.S. military. The bomber then “detonated his explosive belt.” Amaq claims that Taliban members were among the casualties.

The text of the Amaq claim is intended to undermine the Taliban’s jihadist credentials. “It is noteworthy that for more than a week the American forces, in partnership with the Taliban militia, have been evacuating hundreds of foreign employees, translators and spies who worked for the American army over the past years,” the statement reads.

The Islamic State derisively refers to the Taliban as a “militia,” even though the organization has taken over most of Afghanistan and is preparing to announce the resurrection of its Islamic emirate.

The Islamic State’s so-called Khorasan “province” has conducted a series complex terrorist operations in Kabul since 2015. The Taliban, including the Haqqani Network, has conducted operations in the capital as well.

Earlier this month, the Taliban carried a complex “martyrdom” operation in an attempt to killed the defense minister for the now deposed Afghan government. In a second attack, the Taliban killed the head of the former government’s information and media center.

Some in the U.S. government envision working with the Taliban in a counterterrorism partnership against the Islamic State, which currently doesn’t control a significant amount of territory. But the Taliban’s decades-long alliance with al Qaeda remains unbroken, and the two worked side-by-side to conquer much of Afghanistan.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

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