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IMMINENT WARNING: SUICIDE BLAST KILLS 13 IN MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR TALIBAN OFFICIAL IN NE AFGHANISTAN

June 8, 2023

Benedetta Bisaccia, Kyle Dillon, CENTCOM/AFRICOM TEAM

Jennifer Loy, Chief Editor


Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan[1]


Event: On June 8, a suicide bomber targeted a memorial service in Afghanistan's Badakhshan Province, claiming the lives of at least 13 people and injuring at least 30. The wounded were transported to Kabul for further treatment, and among the victims was a former Taliban police official. The service was held to honor Nisar Ahmad Ahmadi, the Taliban Deputy Governor of Badakhshan, who was killed in a car bombing just two days earlier in Faizabad. The perpetrator remains unknown, but Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) was responsible for the death of Ahmadi.[2] The Taliban and ISIS-K are significant rivals in Afghanistan and the Taliban have conducted raids against this organization in the past to contain the threat.[3] The Taliban military chief, Fasihuddin Fitrat, denounced these attacks and has asked people to provide the Taliban with information on suspicious behavior, possibly to be a preventative measure for these attacks.[4]


Significance: This memorial service attack, as well as the car-bombing, likely demonstrate that the Taliban does not have solid control over security in Afghanistan. If this was not a lone-wolf attack, the responsible organization will likely continue exploiting gaps in Taliban security until preventative measures are established. This will very likely motivate the Taliban to establish an effective counterterrorism strategy, increasing their legitimacy and ensuring stability in Afghanistan. Despite no direct links between this attack and ISIS-K yet, the Taliban will likely continue conducting raids on ISIS-K hideouts and assets to contain the threat and cement their power. This will likely inspire ISIS-K responses and may lead to a cycle of retaliatory actions with no long term gains. There is a roughly even chance the Taliban will use these attacks as a propaganda measure to isolate ISIS-K support and limit their recruitment. Regional states are unlikely to intervene to help the Taliban control the ISIS-K and terrorism threat, as they will likely focus on safeguarding their own borders.


Recommendations

  • The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) recommends that intelligence agencies and organizations like the UN continue monitoring the rivalry between the Taliban and ISIS-K to understand the ramifications for regional and international security. Given the complex dynamics between these two groups, CTG recommends that US forces and personnel closely observe their interactions.

  • CTG recommends that the potential consequences of sending international support to the Taliban are analyzed and understood before aid is sent. It remains critical that if assistance is provided, it will fund counterterrorism operations and not maneuvers against women’s rights. CTG recommends that International actors should conduct a thorough assessment of the Taliban’s actions, intentions, and commitment to peace and stability before support is given.

  • CTG recommends that international actors engage in diplomatic efforts to foster dialogue and cooperation among regional powers in addressing the security challenges in Afghanistan.

  • CTG recommends that regional countries comprehend the situations in Afghanistan to better prepare for potential terrorist attacks in their own countries. This could involve strengthening border security to prevent spillover impacts.

  • If there is any additional and or critical information please contact us at The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) by Telephone 202-643-2848 or email info@counterterrorismgroup.com

 

[1] Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan by TUBS licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

[2] Suicide bomb hits memorial service for Taliban official in northeast Afghanistan, killing 13 people, AP, June 2023, https://apnews.com/article/taliban-official-memorial-bomb-blast-733535721b5b4de5e62981e61221c269

[3] Deadly Blast Hits Afghan Mosque During Memorial Service For Taliban Official, VOA News, June 2023, https://www.voanews.com/a/deadly-blast-hits-afghan-mosque-during-memorial-service-for-taliban-official-/7128281.html

[4] Suicide bomb hits memorial service for Taliban official in northeast Afghanistan, killing 13 people, AP, June 2023, https://apnews.com/article/taliban-official-memorial-bomb-blast-733535721b5b4de5e62981e61221c269

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