Monday, May 8, 2017

Leader of ISIS in Afghanistan was killed in a US raid.

A wounded victim of the March 2017 assault on a military hospital in Afghanistan. AFP. 

Abdul Hasib, the leader of ISIS in Afghanistan, had been killed in a major joint US and Afghan commando raid. AFP. Hasib was the 2nd leader of the group in Afghanistan killed in 9 months. Hasib was responsible for ordering a raid on an Afghan hospital that killed 50 people. The raid launched to kill Hasib was successful and though there were civilians at the compound, none were killed in the raid. ISIS has had some success in Afghanistan and has taken territory in Nagharhar and Kunar provinces and at a peak had 3000 fighters in the country. That number has been reduced to 800 after a series of air raids and battles with the Afghan government and the Taliban. Two US commandos were killed in the raid that killed Hasib. 

My Comment:
It seems clear what Donald Trump's plan for Afghanistan is now. For a long time I have been critical of Trump, and everyone else for that matter, for not having a plan in Afghanistan. It seems now that we know what Trump's plan is and it is primarily to destroy ISIS. Instead of focusing on defeating the Taliban or saving the Afghan government, our main priority is taking out the ISIS presence in the country. 

So for Trump has been doing a fairly good job at accomplishing that goal. This mission against the leader of ISIS in Afghanistan was a good success, even if it did cost two American lives. Abdul Hasib may have been a bit player in the larger ISIS organization, but he was still in charge of ISIS in Afghanistan. Taking him out so soon after killing the last leader of ISIS in Afghanistan and after the brutal MOAB strike is a huge blow for ISIS. 

And he was an absolutely brutal terrorist. The attack on that Afghan military hospital was one of the worst terror attacks in recent history. There is something really disgusting about ordering an attack on a bunch of wounded and sick soldiers who can't defend themselves. I am very glad that one of the men responsible for that attack was brought to justice. 

I think Trump's recent attacks on ISIS in Afghanistan, including the recent raid and the MOAB bombing, have been effective and serve a larger purpose in the greater war against ISIS globally. There has always been a great fear that after ISIS is defeated and destroyed in Iraq and Syria, they will simply move to somewhere else. The original plan was to go to Libya, but thanks to US intervention and local fighters, that plan has been stopped and ISIS has been largely wiped out there.

Afghanistan was the second logical choice. ISIS controls a bit of territory in Afghanistan and the United States hasn't had much luck in stabilizing the country. It would make a very good place for ISIS to regroup and rearm after they are defeated in Iraq and Syria. The massive battles happening between Afghanistan and the Taliban create a huge opening for ISIS to exploit the chaos and create a 2nd home. 

Will Trump's moves against ISIS be enough though? I think it's fair to say that ISIS has suffered one hell of a bloody nose. With their leadership dying and their ground troops reduced and disorganized, they are on the backfoot for sure. They are also involved in a three way war against both the Taliban and the Afghan government, which is fairly difficult proposition under the best of times.  

The problem is that without a larger plan against the Taliban, it won't make much of a difference. The Afghan government is under siege and faces a major possibility of falling completely to the Taliban. They are taking unsustainable casualties and are rapidly losing territory. 

That means that even if every ISIS fighter in Afghanistan is killed, they will still have a massive opening caused by the fall of the Afghan government. ISIS thrives on instability and right now Afghanistan is one of the most unstable countries in the world. 

But I don't know what we can do about it. The Afghan government needs fighters and weapons and I don't see them getting much of either. They could probably win if we deployed 10,000 troops, but there is zero appetite for that in either the Trump administration or the American people. It just seems like a cause we can't win. 

The only option seems to be the one the Trump White House is taking. Instead of trying to stop the Taliban, we are focused like a laser on ISIS fighters in the country. If we do kill most of their leadership and fighters we can at least hope that they don't take over if and when the Afghan government falls... 

No comments:

Post a Comment