Moscow ISIS-K attack highlights growing terror threat from Afghanistan

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The terrorist attack at the Crocus City concert hall in Moscow was Russia’s worst attack More than 20 years later, 137 people were killed and more than 180 injured, a reminder to Russia and the West that the threat from ISIS and international terrorism has not gone away.

Russian media confirmed that the gunmen were Tajikistanis. They entered the concert hall carrying automatic weapons and opened fire indiscriminately in the 6,200-seat venue. The Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan, known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), claimed responsibility for the brutal attack on concertgoers.

While the Islamic State’s caliphate spanning Iraq and Syria was largely defeated by the United States and its Kurdish allies there, the Islamic State’s Afghan chapter has been one of the most active branches of the post-caliphate. It was responsible for a suicide attack at Kabul Airport in August 2021 during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan that killed 13 U.S. service members.

Former US ambassador to Ukraine says Moscow attack shows Putin’s grip on Russia ‘far less tight than we thought’

The world’s eyes are focused again Return to Afghanistan It has been more than two years since the Taliban regained control following the 2021 U.S. troop withdrawal.

Max Abrams, a professor of political science at Northeastern University and a terrorism expert, told Fox News Digital: “It appears that ISIS-K has taken advantage of the U.S. troop withdrawal and has been successful in recruiting new recruits, particularly from Afghanistan and China. new recruits in Asia.” The deadly attack in Moscow came after ISIS claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings in January that killed at least 95 people, honoring Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander Qasi General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike. 2020.

A member loyal to the Islamic State waves an Islamic State flag in Raqqa on June 29, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer)

Ivana Stradner, a researcher focusing on Russian information security at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said it’s no surprise that ISIS-K is targeting Russia. Stradner told Fox News Digital that Russian actions in Syria and Moscow’s ties with Iran also played a role in the Islamic State’s decision to challenge the Kremlin. In 2015, Russia intervened in the Syrian civil war to support the Assad regime, which was on the verge of collapse. There are also long-running grievances over Moscow’s treatment of Russia’s Muslim minority and its brutal war against Chechnya.

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Founded in 2015, ISIS-K operates primarily in Afghanistan but has expanded around the world, including in Russia’s Central Asian backyard. It may share similar ideologies with: Talibanbut still poses a serious threat to their rule as it seeks to undermine the Afghan regime and attack foreign interests in Afghanistan.

With Taliban victory, Afghanistan could become ‘second school of jihadism’

Abrams said many countries are now grappling with how to deal with Islamic State and other terrorist networks operating in unstable countries with weak governance. “Naturally, they will start to think more seriously about arming the relatively moderate forces in Afghanistan, and other rebel groups may also be empowered because they are branding themselves as anti-Islamic State,” Abrams said.

this Afghan National Resistance Front The Afghan Renaissance Front (NRF), considered by some to be the most dynamic Afghan resistance group, has stepped up attacks on the Taliban in recent months. Expelling the Taliban and re-establishing an Afghan republic remains the NRF’s primary goal, but they also fight ISIS-K and other networks. Terrorist groups such as ISIS-K also challenge Taliban rule but do not seek to restore a secular and democratic Afghanistan. However, their coordinated attack in Moscow demonstrated the group’s international strike capabilities.

Putin held a ceremony in a church for the victims of the terrorist attack.

In this group photo released by Russian state news agency Sputnik, President Vladimir Putin visits the outskirts of Moscow on March 24, 2024, during a national day of mourning after the attack on the Krokus concert hall A candle is lit in a church. (Mikhail Metzer/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

“ISIS-K’s expansion is a direct result of the Taliban allowing terrorist networks and foreign fighters to flow into Afghanistan,” Ali Maisam Nazary, NRF’s director of foreign relations, told Fox Digital News.

“These groups are preparing inside Afghanistan to carry out attacks on Western and regional countries on a larger scale than Moscow’s in the coming years,” Nazari warned.

Taliban’s two-front war is coming

NRF operates mainly in the Northeast Afghanistan It has focused operations in the Panjshir Valley, recently opened a new front in western Afghanistan, and is increasing operations in the city of Herat. Nazari noted that National Revolutionary Front forces have launched attacks in Kabul over the past few weeks and will intensify their efforts starting this spring and summer. Nazari claimed that these operations highlighted increased support for the National Rapid Reaction Force across Afghanistan and demonstrated their strategic capabilities against the Taliban.

The Taliban have generally downplayed the threat posed by the National Revolutionary Front and other armed groups, claiming they have restored stability to Afghanistan since the collapse of the U.S.-backed government. While the NRF was quick to highlight its successes against the Taliban, the U.S. intelligence community’s annual threat assessment released on March 11 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence made only brief mention of Afghanistan. The report states that the Taliban regime has strengthened its power and suppressed anti-Taliban groups such as the NRF and ISIS-K.

Threat assessments offer a brief but bleak outlook for the future of the Afghan resistance.

russian soldier

A Russian soldier controls an area as a fire breaks out over the Crocus City concert hall on the western edge of Moscow on Friday, March 22, 2024. (AP Photo)

“Nevertheless, the near-term prospects for a regime-threatening resistance movement remain low, as large numbers of the Afghan public are war-weary, fearful of Taliban retaliation, and the remnants of the armed forces lack strong leadership and external support,” the document states.

Taliban says women lose value if men see their faces in public: ‘You should hide yourself’

The resistance group has launched a two-year campaign to gain more international recognition and support for its efforts to fight the Taliban and ISIS-K, and hopes to organize a unified political opposition to govern Afghanistan without the Taliban.Unfortunately for the NRF and its supporters, they have so far failed to gain international recognition from another country, lacked external financial support, and not recognized by the United States

“The United States does not support further armed conflict in Afghanistan. This country has been at war for 46 years. We do not want to see Afghanistan descend into war, and Afghans have told us they do not want conflict either,” a State Department spokesman said, telling Fox News numbers.

Afghan Taliban hold military parade

Taliban militants mark the second anniversary of the withdrawal of US-led troops from Afghanistan in Kandahar, south of Kabul, on Tuesday, August 15, 2023. (AP/Abdel Khaliq)

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Fatemeh Aman, a nonresident senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C., told Fox News Digital that the NRF is largely respected and has the sympathy of many Afghans, but it’s still not enough.

“It may be difficult to achieve the goal of liberating Afghanistan through guerrilla warfare alone without active popular support, external moral and military support, and even some diplomatic intervention,” Aman said.

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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