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Imminent Warning: ISIS-K SUICIDE BOMBER ATTACK ON THE RUSSIAN EMBASSY IN KABUL, AFGHANISTAN-BE ALERT

September 6, 2022

Alberto Suarez, Elizabeth Leoce, Lucy Game, CENTCOM;

Marina Tovar, Elvire Verant, Peter Roberto, Matthew Bauer, EUCOM;

Deepankar Patil, Justin Maurina, Editor; Manja Vitasovic, Senior Editor


Embassy of Russia” by Google Maps[1]


Event: On September 5, 2022, an ISIS-K suicide bomber detonated a suicide vest in a queue of Afghans waiting to attain visas from the Russian Embassy in Kabul, killing six and wounding 10 people.[2] The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed that two employees of its diplomatic mission were killed.[3] The embassy is in Darul Aman Avenue, where ISIS-K has previously launched terrorist attacks, the latest being the attack on a Sufi mosque on April 29, 2022.[4] It is still unclear if ISIS-K launched this suicide attack specifically against Russian targets or if it is the start of a campaign by ISIS-K aimed at diplomatic delegations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and nonprofit organizations operating in Afghanistan.


Significance: The attack almost certainly indicates that ISIS-K will continue with suicide attacks in the short term, very likely targeting foreigners, diplomats, and aid workers in Afghanistan, likely to undermine Taliban rule in Afghanistan and gain international media coverage. ISIS-K will also likely target foreign humanitarian aid organizations, likely destroying their humanitarian aid packages and undermining service delivery to Afghan civilians, particularly in rural areas. Russia will likely increase its cooperation with the Taliban to combat ISIS-K. These strikes will likely weaken economic relations between Russia and Afghanistan, likely jeopardizing an ongoing oil deal. There is a roughly even chance that Russia will conduct a limited air campaign against ISIS-K targets in Afghanistan, likely to demonstrate that Russia remains to have a significant presence in Afghanistan. ISIS-K’s attack will very likely want to send a message to Russia and countries with diplomatic missions or interests in Afghanistan to leave the country. ISIS-K will very likely carry out suicide attacks on embassies of countries holding bilateral relations with the Taliban, such as China, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan, very likely to undermine the Taliban’s ability to protect diplomatic delegations. Attacks on these embassies will very likely prevent the recognition of the Taliban government by these states, likely increasing ISIS-K recruitment among defected Taliban members and likely pushing Afghan civilians to join anti-Taliban groups beyond ISIS-K, like the Northern Alliance, the National Resistance Front, the Liberation Front of Afghanistan, the Wolf Unit, the National Front for Free Afghanistan, and Turkestan Freedom Fighters. Defections to ISIS-K and other anti-Taliban groups will very likely weaken Taliban control over Afghanistan.


Recommendations

  • The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) recommends that remaining embassies, foreign delegations, and consular personnel stay highly alert toward suspicious behaviors, like unknown individuals approaching the perimeter of diplomatic buildings. Security procedures like increased patrols of diplomatic premises, crowd control by providing only individual or family meetings via appointment, searches of individuals entering diplomatic delegations, and installing CCTV cameras are strongly advised.

  • NGOs and non-profit organizations should avoid operating in regions where ISIS-K is active, like Nangarhar, Lowgar, and Paktika province in the east.[5] In Kabul, NGOs and non-profit organizations should avoid operating in Shia neighborhoods where ISIS-K has conducted terrorist attacks, such as Dasht-e-Barchi.[6]

  • It is recommended that foreign intelligence agencies closely monitor ISIS-K communication and recruitment channels to prevent future attacks in Afghanistan.

  • CTG will continue monitoring this issue for future developments. CTG’s Worldwide Analysis of Threats, Crimes, and Hazards (W.A.T.C.H.) Officers will monitor Afghanistan for future ISIS-K terrorist attacks. If there is any additional and or critical information please contact us at The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) by Telephone 202-643-248 or email info@counterterrorismgroup.com

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[1] Peter Roberto via Google Maps

[2] Suicide attack at Russia embassy in Kabul kills 2 diplomats, Associated Press, September 2022

https://apnews.com/article/afghanistan-russia-ukraine-explosions-kabul-00bf5815018fb152be8784f6f3af2557

[3] The Foreign Ministry`s statement on the explosion in Kabul, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, September 2022 https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1828541/

[4] UNAMA statement on deadly attack in a mosque in Kabul, UNAMA, April 2022 https://unama.unmissions.org/unama-statement-deadly-attack-mosque-kabul

[5] Afghanistan Terrorism Report, Counter Extremism Project, May 2022 https://www.counterextremism.com/blog/afghanistan-terrorism-report-may-2022

[6] “It Doesn`t Matter If We Get Killed,” Afghanistan`s Hazaras Speak Out, The Diplomat, May 2022

https://thediplomat.com/2022/05/it-doesnt-matter-if-we-get-killed-afghanistans-hazaras-speak-out/


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