Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Massive bombing in Kabul Afghanistan kills at least 80 people and wounds hundreds more.

Destroyed cars near the blast in Kabul. Reuters. 

A massive bombing using a sewage truck has killed at least 80 people and wounded 350 more in Kabul, Afghanistan. Reuters. The bomb exploded close to the German embassy, and damaged the embassies for China, France and Turkish as well, but it remains unclear what the target was. NATO officials claim that Afghan security forces prevented the sewage truck from entering the "green zone", so the site of the blast might not have been the actual target. No one has taken responsibility for the attack as of this writing, but the Taliban have denied responsibility and condemned the attack saying it had not legitimate target. ISIS has taken credit for other large scale attacks in Afghanistan but have not made a statement so far. 

My Comment:
An absolutely devastating blast in Kabul this morning. I heard somewhere that this blast was close to the amount of power as the Oklahoma City bombing. I have no idea if that is true or not but looking at the pictures I have seen makes me think that it could be. Even if it wasn't equivalent, this still remains one of the most powerful truck bombings I have seen in quite some time. I think that the sewage truck that was used in this attack must have been filled to the brim with explosives. 

It was very fortunate that the Afghan security forces on duty did their jobs. I have criticized them in the past for letting several attacks happen in the green zone but this time they prevented a worse tragedy. And it seems very likely that they died for it as well. Though I can't say for sure I suspect that when the driver of the sewage truck was confronted or turned away he set off his explosives. The security forces that prevented the attacker from entering the green zone are heroes to their country and deserve our respect for making the ultimate sacrifice. 

It is unclear what the target actually was though. Given the importance of the green zone, any of the buildings there would have been tempting targets. The embassies themselves probably weren't the targets but I am guessing that whatever the target actually was the planners can't be too upset that a bunch of embassies were damaged in this attack. They may have wanted to strike the Afghan government itself but I doubt they are upset they instead hit embassies of countries that are all opposed to ISIS. 

It seems fairly obvious that this was an ISIS attack. Though the Taliban are certainly capable of such an attack, they have denied responsibility and condemned it. It's possible that the denial was a lie but ISIS is much more likely to be the one that pulled this off. There is a small chance it was al-Qaeda or some other terror group but I think the circumstantial case is for ISIS. 

ISIS has been responsible for a string of attacks in Kabul, most notably a raid on military hospital and a suicide bombing at the Supreme Court. They are much less likely to care about civilian casualties and certainly have the expertise to make this bomb. They are targeting the Afghan government and they would also love to hit any of the embassies located in the green zone. At this point I would be very surprised if they weren't the ones responsible. 

If it was ISIS then it goes to show that they haven't been defeated in Afghanistan yet. Though we have greatly increased our attacks against ISIS in Afghanistan, even using the largest conventional bomb used in combat in history, they are still able to pull of major terrorist attacks like this. It seems as though the operational department of ISIS in Afghanistan has recovered from the MOAB strike, assuming they were even effected by it in the first place. 

The bombing comes during the holy month of Ramadan. I have mentioned before that we should expect more attacks globally as Ramadan has historically seen an uptick in ISIS attacks. This massive bombing in Kabul, along with the bombings in Baghdad earlier this week, could very well be the first salvos in a larger campaign. We should remain vigilant for other attacks, especially in Europe.

As for Afghanistan, the rise of ISIS and the streak of devastating terror attacks caused by them comes at the worst possible time. They are currently locked in a life or death struggle with the Taliban. And they appear to be losing that struggle. They are losing territory rapidly and the rate of casualties is far beyond acceptable levels. Their only solace is that ISIS and the Taliban occasionally fight each other as well. The ISIS campaign against them could be the final push that could throw the whole country into chaos and could even allow the Taliban to take over. 

I hope that doesn't happen and I know that our government is considering sending a few thousand more troops to prevent that scenario from happening. The problem is that I don't think those few thousand troops are anywhere near enough. If our mission is just to destroy ISIS they might be, but I don't think we can save Afghanistan with so few troops. With zero public appetite for a larger deployment I fear that the situation in Afghanistan could turn into an utter disaster... 

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