Region of Concern: Afghanistan
Written By Gabriela Peregrino; Edited by Cameron Munoz and Jennifer Loy
Date: March 28, 2023
Map of Kabul, Afghanistan
Event: ISIS-K claimed responsibility for a suicide attack killing six civilians near a foreign ministry security checkpoint in Kabul, Afghanistan, on its Telegram account Monday. The attack injured several others as the blast struck government employees who were leaving work for the day. Before the attack, security forces identified the bomber and fired shots that were unsuccessful in preventing him from arriving at the Malik Asghar Square checkpoint where he detonated his explosive vest. A Kabul hospital operated by an Italian Non-governmental Organization (NGO), EMERGENCY, reported 12 wounded and two dead patients upon arrival. An eyewitness confirmed the explosion occurred during rush hour, as government employees are approved to leave four hours early during Ramadan.R The Taliban has since increased raids on suspected ISIS-K hideouts in response to these attacks.
Significance: ISIS-K will likely expand suicide bombings in Kabul during Ramadan targeting highly occupied areas and exploit the publication of these mass casualty incidents to increase their notoriety and recruitment. Counterterrorism efforts by the Taliban will likely target high-profile ISIS-K members in an effort to weaken the militant group. ISIS-K-Taliban conflicts will likely intensify over territorial control in Afghanistan, further destabilizing the region. It is likely increases in militancy from such conflict will further oppress vulnerable populations by restricting or criminalizing public dissent. A continued decline in nationwide human rights will likely reduce diplomatic ties and foreign trade, weakening the country politically and economically. Afghanistan's national insecurity will likely be susceptible to ISIS-K resurgence or attacks by other terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), or Haqqani Network (HN).
Recommendations: Afghanistan’s General Directorate of Intelligence General Directorate of Intelligence should focus on counterterrorism efforts by emphasizing explosive detection to mitigate risks of further attacks in Kabul. Security should be increased within densely populated regions during Ramadan and Kabul government buildings in conjunction with counterterrorism efforts. It is recommended the Taliban inform citizens of potentially targeted areas through radio broadcasting as well as online and printed newspapers to help ensure safety. The Taliban are urged to lift restrictions on human rights to include girl’s and women’s education and employment to restore women’s freedom and aid operations. They should seek increases in humanitarian assistance from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations to improve the lives of the Afghan people while also preventing economic collapse. Afghanistan should seek diplomatic assistance from allies such as India for human rights policy and long-term sustainability.
 Islamic State claims responsibility for attack near Afghan foreign ministry, The Jerusalem Post, March 2023, https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/article-735616
 At least 6 killed in latest suicide attack aimed at Afghanistan's Taliban rulers, CBS News, March 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/afghanistan-bombing-kabul-taliban-foreign-ministry-targeted-possible-isis-attack/