Failure in foiling Kabul deadly attack exposes another U.S. mistake, says analyst

(Xinhua) 14:50, August 28, 2021

KABUL, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- At least 169 Afghan civilians and 13 U.S. soldiers were killed following a deadly attack outside the Kabul airport in Afghan capital on Thursday evening.

"The United States and Western countries were aware of an imminent attack on Kabul airport even before that bloody day. They were alerted and they repeatedly issued signals to their citizens to avoid entering Kabul airport Thursday. However, they failed to foil the deadly attack," well-known Afghan journalist Mohammad Shaker Zarbi told Xinhua on Friday.

At least two massive suicide bomb explosions occured at the Kabul airport while several gunmen opened fire at soldiers and civilians during the attack on Thursday.

"It was a big mistake. When everybody had known that a terrorist attack was looming, why U.S. and coalition military and intelligence officials failed to properly respond to the attack? At least they could use any means to disperse the big crowds," Zarbi, chief editor of state-run Anis Daily, said.

On early Friday, all the gates of Kabul airport remained closed and the crowds outside the airport had been cleared, according to locals.

"The big crowds outside the airport were cleared after big explosions. People were sleeping outside the airport on the ground over the past two weeks after Aug. 15 when Taliban took over Kabul and evacuation flight began," Sayyed Mohammad, a vendor near the airport told Xinhua.

"When everybody knows that an attack is happening, it is not difficult to control the situation. They must do their best at least to minimize the casualties," Zarbi said.

Nearly 6,000 U.S. troops have been deployed at the Kabul airport to secure the airlifting operation since the Taliban's takeover of Kabul on Aug. 15. Over 90,000 people had been evacuated since then.

The IS or so-called ISIS-K has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to a statement from the group's Amaq News Agency cited in multiple reports.

When asked whether the attack was indicative of resurgence of IS and that the group may become a big threat, Zarbi said, "The Taliban are now facing another season in war on the Islamic State or Daesh, although the supreme leader of IS was killed, which heavily deterred the outfit's fighters anywhere to regroup."

"Like before, the Taliban can resist and defeat the IS, because Taliban foot soldiers were enjoying a single military leadership. Even if the IS receives support from any foreign countries, the Taliban will defeat it," he said.

"The IS framework was broken, shattered and dispersed a couple of years ago and I do not think the group could have strong fighting influence enough to fight the Taliban, but it may remain as a short-term guerrilla fighting or carrying out suicide and terrorist attacks," he said.

Meanwhile, Abdul Satar Saadat, former legal advisor to President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and ex-chairman of the Afghan Electoral Complains Commission, opined that the IS group could be a big threat to Afghanistan and countries in the region.

"The last terror attack on airport would alert regional countries that there could be a serious threat to their national security," he tweeted Friday.

The Taliban were focusing in Afghanistan but the ISIS-K has transnational purposes; so there is an urgent need to cooperate and recognize the legitimacy of new government to be formed soon, Saadat said.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also expressed his grave concern. "The incident underscores the volatility of Afghanistan, but also strengthens our resolve as we continue to deliver urgent assistance to the Afghan people," he tweeted hours after the attack.

The Taliban spokesman and acting Minister of Information and Culture Zabihullah Mujahid, and Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of High Council for National Reconciliation, also strongly condemned Thursday's attack.

(Web editor: Du Mingming, Liang Jun)


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