Militants believed to be associated with the Islamic State group in Afghanistan launched an attack on a military hospital in Kabul on October 2, causing casualties among both guards and civilians. Attacks by the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan have intensified significantly since the Taliban takeover and the completion of the NATO withdrawal. ISIS and the Taliban are bitter rivals and the group is likely attempting to undermine the stability of the new regime.
ISIS attack on hospital
Taliban spokesmen reported that the attackers did not make it inside the military hospital, a 400-bed facility located in the Afghan capital.
The assault reportedly began with a large explosion at the hospital’s entrance, followed by an exchange of gunfire between the attackers and the Taliban guards stationed nearby.
Three women, a child, and three of the Taliban guards were killed in the attack. Five of the ISIS attackers were killed by Taliban fighters, who prevented them from gaining access to the hospital itself.
ISIS attacked the same military hospital in 2017, killing more than 30 people after infiltrating the building and opening fire on patients and medical personnel.
The same group was responsible for the devastating attack on U.S. troops and Afghan civilians at the Kabul airport during the evacuation effort.
The Biden administration responded to this attack by bombing a man who they claimed was another ISIS attacker. That man turned out to be an aid worker bringing home water for his children, who were all killed with him in the American drone strike.
Taliban faces serious challenge from rival militants
The Taliban cannot get away with making that sort of mistake if they hope to stay in power for very long. The insurgents have suddenly found themselves combating another insurgency.
The overnight reemergence of ISIS in Afghanistan has been a concern to both the United States and the new Taliban regime; the militant group thought it had eliminated most of the regional ISIS forces in 2018.
Attacks by the group have aimed to undermine the shaky stability of the new government in Kabul by depicting the Taliban as being unable or unwilling to defend against attacks on key targets.
The Shiite minority in Afghanistan has repeatedly targeted, likely in an attempt to strain relations between Kabul and the neighboring Shiite power of Iran.
If there is one thing ordinary Afghans hope for above all else it is peace and stability after decades of violence and unpredictability.
Most of the country has accepted the Taliban in the hopes that their rise will mean an end to years of bombings and shootings. ISIS militants want to ensure that the Taliban cannot deliver on that promise.