By New Age Islam Special Correspondent
5 November 2020
The deadly attack on a book fair in Kabul University by the ISIS on November 3 speaks of the rise of the ISIS after a slump in its fortune following the elimination of its leader Al Baghdadi in October 2019.
The attack at Kabul University was carried out on the day a book fair was scheduled to be inaugurated by the Iranian ambassador Bahadur Aminian and Cultural attache Mujtaba Naoroozi. 40 Iranian publishers were also supposed to participate in the book fair.
Though the ISIS statement said that it targeted the newly graduated judges, investigators and security personnel, the motive behind it seems to be something else.
In August, the US intelligence agencies had determined that Iran had been paying Taliban to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan. A report by a British newspaper even said that Iran paid Taliban $1000 for each US soldier killed and Iranian firms based in Afghanistan transferred funds to Taliban. Earlier in June, New York Times had reported that Russia also paid bounties to Taliban for killing the US soldiers in Afghanistan.
According to reports, Iran and Russia consider the presence of the US in the region a threat to them and want its withdrawal from Afghanistan at the earliest.
In the light of these reports it seems that the attacks on the book fair in Kabul where Iran's ambassador and cultural attaché were supposed to be present and 40 Iranian publishers were participating were a retaliation from the US. Though the ISIS statement said it targeted 80 judges and investigators of the 'apostate Afghan government', the Afghan government did not mention the judges and investigators among the dead but said some students were killed.
The ISIS had only last week attacked an educational institution in Dasht-e-Barchi, a Shia population. It has been targetting the Shia population and organisations in Afghanistan for the last few years..
The assumption that the ISIS targeted Iranians in the book fair is based on the fact that of late, the Sunni militant group ISIS has turned into a group of hired fighters and has been working as the militant wing of Turkey. Recently Turkey sent 4000 hired ISIS fighters to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict zone of Azerbaijan Early Turkey had sent the ISIS fighters to Libya on a contract.
The ISIS fighters were hailed as holy warriors by the Muslims of Azerbaijan who had come to assist them in their holy war against the Christians of Armenia. The President of the Republic of Karabakh, Arayik Arutyunian said that the ISIS fighters were there to participate in jihad against Armenia.
Though Turkey was first to designate the ISIS as a terrorist organisation and both had attacked each other a number of times between 2013 to 2016, the hostility between them seems to have waned by 2017. And after the death of Al Baghdadi in October 2019 and the capture of Baghdadi's sister by Turkey in November 2019, both seem to have reached an understanding. This is the reason the ISIS have heightened their operations in Afghanistan targetting Iran's interests and the Shias in the region.
Turkey's President Recep Erdogan is using this Sunni militant organisation against Iran. The success of Azerbaijan against Armenia has only buoyed up the image of the ISIS as holy warriors in the region, at least among the Muslims of Azerbaijan. Driven by his ambition of becoming the messiah of the Sunni world, Erdogan is patronising the terrorist outfit. Since Iran's growing political and economic influence in the Middle East is seen by the Sunni states of the Gulf as a threat, Erdogan wants to spread its influence in Afghanistan and the South Asian region with the help of the ISIS.
The growth and spread of the ISIS in Afghanistan does not augur well for the peace and security of the region. Recently, the Indian intelligence agencies reported that Turkey was providing support to the ISIS module in India. After its withdrawal from Afghanistan, the US would like to have a militant group loyal to it to safeguard and further its economic and political interests in the region but it will be harmful for India and its neighbours in future.
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