On Thursday, an attack by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) at Kabul airport left at least 85 dead and more than 160 injured. An attack which further reveals the catastrophic situation in Afghanistan, since the Taliban took power in Kabul on August 15.
While the United States has warned that more attacks are likely and that more than 100,000 people have already been evacuated from the country, what real impact will the attack have? For Karim Pakzad, researcher at the Institute for International and Strategic Relations (IRIS) and specialist in Afghanistan, this attack clearly shows the challenge of instability that awaits the country.
Is this attack a game-changer in Afghanistan?
What the attack shows is above all that the situation is still far from being stabilized in Afghanistan. The Taliban have admittedly entered Kabul, but have not yet established their government, they are still in the midst of negotiations and negotiations with their political opponents of the former regime in place, and probably have differences within their own. movement to know how to rule and which group will rule.
If we add to this the influx of tens of thousands of people to the airport, everything was in place for an attack. Moreover, the attack was mentioned by many intelligence services several days before it occurred, it is really not a surprise, and does not change the situation much, it is above all a consequence of the situation.
How will this attack influence the foreign powers, very present in Afghanistan?
It is an important element of calculation for the foreign powers who want to discuss with the Taliban, this attack shows that Daesh or the Islamic State is not far and can take advantage of the vacuum and the instability of Afghanistan to reappear . We have seen it with lots of Arab countries, like Yemen, Syria or Libya, when there is vacuum and instability, the extremists rush in.
Suddenly, with this attack, there is now the idea that it is either the Taliban or Daesh who will rule Afghanistan, which reshuffles the cards in favor of the Taliban in the perspective of a lesser evil. Foreign powers which have directly sought to speak with the Taliban, such as Russia, China or Iran, are confirmed in their choice, and this will perhaps change the discourse of the other powers. We can already see that US President Joe Biden, in
his conference after the attack, who has referred to the Taliban as a bulwark against Daesh.
Is there not a risk of other attacks?
Yes, there will probably be other attacks, because the situation will remain still unstable and fragile in Afghanistan, with the final withdrawal of foreign powers soon and the fact that the Taliban are trying to make an inclusive government with other parties, this which will necessarily take time. As long as Afghanistan is unstable, it will be the target of terrorists and extremists, who will want to rush into this breach. If the Taliban are strengthened internationally by this attack, they must now show their ability to manage the internal situation. Because then, it is a vicious circle: the more there are attacks, the more the situation becomes unstable, the more there are attacks.