The suicide attack carried out on Tuesday by the Islamic State organization in Khorassan (EI-K), the Afghan branch of the Iraqi-born terrorist group, against the military hospital in the Afghan capital killed at least 19 people. Among them is the head of the Taliban military forces in Kabul, Hamdullah Mokhlis, an official of the Taliban communications service said on Wednesday (November 3rd).
A member of the Haqqani network, described as terrorist by the United States, as well as of the Taliban special forces, called “Badri 313”, Commander Mokhlis is the highest Taliban official killed since the Islamists seized power in Afghanistan on the 15th. August.
“When we received the information that the hospital (…) was attacked, Maulvi Hamdullah, the commander of the Kabul (military) corps, immediately rushed to the scene, said an official with the Taliban communications service. We tried to stop him, but he laughed. “
According to IS-K, the coordinated attack, which also left 50 injured, involved five attackers. One activated an explosive belt at the entrance to the hospital, then armed men entered the establishment.
The Taliban assured to have put an end to the attack in fifteen minutes after having notably helicoptered ” special forces “ on the roof of the building. Witnesses described scenes of terror, as staff and patients attempted to lock themselves in rooms on upper floors to escape the attackers.
More than 220 attacks
Since coming to power, the Taliban, who have made the return to security in Afghanistan their priority after twenty years of war, have faced a wave of bloody attacks by ISIS.
In 2021, IS-K claimed responsibility for more than 220 attacks in the country. The group said it was responsible for the explosion that targeted a Kabul mosque, killing at least five people, in early October, and a suicide bombing that claimed the lives of more than 100 people, including 13 American soldiers in August. He also claimed responsibility for two attacks on Shiite mosques in Kunduz (northeast) and Kandahar (South) during weekly Friday prayers, which left at least 80 dead.
The IS-K was, until 2020, an organization in decline, whose staff had been decimated by a series of American strikes. But the arrival of a new leader in 2020, the mysterious Shahab Al-Muhajir, “Resulted in a radical change for the organization, from a fragmented and weakened network to the threatening phalanx that it is today”, according to Abdul Sayed, groups expert for the specialized platform ExTrac.
According to the United Nations (UN), the IS-K has 500 to a few thousand fighters in Afghanistan, mainly located in the north and east of the country, with cells even in the capital controlled by the Taliban since mid-August.
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Afghanistan: a senior Taliban official killed in the attack on the military hospital in Kabul