Who is Behind the Suicide attack on the Russian Embassy in Kabul?
IS in Afghanistan operates under the name "DAESH Khorasan". The Taleban authorities claimed some time ago that they had fought DAESH and quashed the organisation entirely.
On Monday, 4th September a bomb attack was carried out on the Russian Embassy in Kabul. There were numerous Afghan civilian fatalities (25 people according to latest reports); most had been standing in a queue outside the embassy, waiting to apply for visas. Two Russian embassy staff workers were also amongst the dead. Al Mayadeen English reported on the aftermath of this attack in a video.
According to a report by RT-DE on Tuesday, 6th August, the radical Islamist militia IS (formerly ISIS) claimed responsibility for the suicide attack. Apparently, their claim appeared on their Internet site A'maq.
IS in Afghanistan operates under the name "DAESH Khorasan". The Taleban authorities claimed some time ago that they had fought DAESH and quashed the organisation entirely. Nevertheless, attacks continue to occur, and DAESH continues to claim responsibility for them. So far, their targets have been limited to the Afghan population – mostly the Shiites, the Hazaras or the Hindus. The terror attack on 18th June 2022 on a Sikh temple, which also produced many fatalities, led to a mass emigration of Sikhs who had been living in Afghanistan.
Truth be told, it is no secret in Afghanistan that the boundaries between DAESH and the Taleban are fluid. The "Haqqâni network", in particular, is said to have close links with DAESH... and, in turn, both of these groups have close links with the Pakistani intelligence service ISI. The harbouring of Al Qaeda leader Alzawaheri in Kabul is attributed to this network.
Journalist Razeq Mamun claims (in Persian) that the Haqqânis carry out terror attacks under the name of DAESH. Moreover, there is fierce competition for power and supremacy between the "Haqqâni network" and another sector of the Taleban, known as the "Kandahar Faction". The roots of this rivalry reach deep into the tribal structures of the Pashtuns.
The Kandahar Faction is described by some domestic and foreign observers as the "moderate" wing of the Taleban. However, there are no relevant signs of any "moderation" about them so far, except that some of their personalities occasionally make statements that are then interpreted as "moderate".
Mullah Yaqub, son of Mullah Omar, the founder of the Taleban movement in the 1990s and who is currently serving as defence minister, is considered to be a moderate Taleb within the Kandahar Faction. He became a major talking point some time ago when, to Pakistan's great chagrin, he described India as a reliable and friendly partner from whom he wishes more cooperation and support for Afghanistan. In addition, Mullah Yaqub sees no reason why women should not be allowed to receive an education and participate in office, or why they should have to cover themselves up completely.
While a senior Taleb claimed the Islamic Emârat of Afghanistan has no need of a constitution and that the Sharia laws are sufficient, Mullah Yaqub spoke openly about the importance of a constitution for the country.
On 7th July 2022, Mullah Yaqub apparently travelled to Qatar on his own authority and met with the Amir of Qatar.
He also does not refrain from criticising Pakistan.
So... what does all this have to do with the attack on the Russian embassy?
Just a few days ago, Mullah Yaqub held a meeting in the Bagram military airport with a Russian delegation, who apparently belonged to the Russian intelligence services. What exactly was discussed in these meetings is not known. But Afghan observers of the Taleban have linked the terror attack to this meeting and see it as a message from the Haqqânis and the Pakistani ISI to Russia, Iran and other regional states that apparently have secret relations with Mullah Yaqub.
Also of note is that in May 2022 Mullah Yaqub was the target of an assassination attempt in the city of Jalalabad. It was an attack, over which the Taleban remain silent. However, photos, videos and various testimonies of eyewitnesses in relation to this attack popped up on social networks. Amongst them were claims that this was not the first time that Mullah Yaqub had been threatened and that sooner or later "they" will try again.
Mullah Yaqub has been creating quite a stir for some time because his actions and statements have largely been in opposition to official Taleban policy and certainly against the Haqqâni line. And the Haqqânis fear that, as Mullah Yaqub is the son of Mullah Omar and also hails from Kandahar, he will one day claim the leadership of the Taleban. To what extent and by whom he is supported within the Taleban structures is not known.