ISIS-K claims responsibility for mosque attack in Kabul that killed dozens

The group ISIS-K has claimed responsibility for a deadly suicide attack on a mosque in southern Afghanistan Friday that left dozens of people dead, reports noted.

According to local authorities, the attack on a Shiite mosque killed at least 47 people and wounded many more. The Islamic State announced on social media that two of its members fired on and killed security guards who were located at the entrance of the Fatimiya mosque located in Kandahar province. One of them proceeded to detonate his explosives at the entrance while the second attacker blew himself up inside the mosque.

ISIS-K’s news agency Amaq noted in a statement that the names of the bombers — both Afghanis — were Anas al-Khurasani and Abu Ali al-Baluchi.

Friday’s attack is the second suicide bombing in a week claimed by the IS affiliate. Last week, another Shiite mosque was targeted in northern Afghanistan, killing 46 people and raising new fears that the group, which is opposed by the West and by the ruling Taliban regime, is gaining a larger presence in Afghanistan following the U.S. withdrawal, The Associated Press reported.

The Friday attack was the deadliest since the U.S. evacuation, which was followed by the Taliban completely retaking control of the country after being ousted from power when the U.S. invaded in October 2001 following the 9/11 attacks, which were reportedly planned by the late al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden on Afghan soil.

The attack was also the first major assault by ISIS-K in the country’s southern region. Frequently, the group carries out attacks where it is strongest — in the east along the Pakistan border — but recently has demonstrated signs of expanding its presence around the country, as demonstrated by attacks in the north and the capital of Kabul.

The Taliban regime has vowed to restore peace to the war-torn country, but the growing ISIS threat is bringing into question the Taliban’sability to do so. Also being questioned is the Taliban’s pledge to Washington that Afghanistan would not be used again to plot international terrorist attacks.

To that point, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on Friday that the Biden administration’s pullout from Afghanistan has not instilled confidence in American allies nor has the administration’s foreign policy initiatives generally.

“I think the world is very worried,” Pompeo said before he and former Trump national security adviser Robert O’Brien were given the Richard Nixon Foundation’s 2021 Architect of Peace Award for helping to develop and then implement the 2020 Abraham Accords and the 2020 Serbia-Kosovo normalization agreements.

“I think they see the first nine months, and they are very concerned that America is leaving the international stage,” Pompeo added.

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“At its very core, what the Biden administration fails to understand is there is a harsh reality out there, that there is evil and there is good,” he said. “And if you withdraw from Afghanistan without considering the ramifications and dealing with them and making sure the conditions are right, America will be diminished.”

He went on to criticize President Biden for setting an “arbitrary” evacuation date from Afghanistan.

“To set an arbitrary, unconditional deadline,” he explained, referring to the Aug. 31 deadline. “And once that’s done, once you set the date certain, then the bad guys know that they can push you–and that’s what they did.”

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