'Just the beginning': Bleak 'civil war' warning after Kabul terror attack

·Assistant News Editor
·4-min read

In the wake of the terror attack on Kabul airport overnight, war hawks are circling in the US. 

Twelve US servicemen were killed and at least 60 others in twin suicide bombings overnight which also injured at least 140 people

The Islamic State group, or ISIS, has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was targeted at translators and collaborators with the US army. 

Speaking to Yahoo News US, former Trump administration national security adviser H.R. McMaster called on President Biden to “reverse course” in the Afghanistan withdrawal – an idea the US president shows no signs of considering. 

Two boys embrace each other as they weep in the parking lot at Wazir Akbar Khan hospital. Source: Getty
Two boys embrace each other as they weep in the parking lot at Wazir Akbar Khan hospital. Source: Getty
A wounded patient is brought by a taxi to the ER in Kabul after the bombings. Source: Getty
A wounded patient is brought by a taxi to the ER in Kabul after the bombings. Source: Getty

While the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan was initiated during the Trump administration, McMaster wants to see the US cut off dealings with the Taliban and launch a new war on terror against jihadi networks throughout Central Asia.

"What we saw today is just the beginning," he told Yahoo.

"We are going to see horrible image after horrible image. … We’re going to confront the steady drumbeat of horrors inflicted on the Afghan people. What are we going to do about it? Are we going to give a damn? Or is this going to be like Rwanda?"

He was referring to the genocide in 1994, when ethnic extremists slaughtered 800,000 people in Rwanda

"We have to redouble counterterrorism efforts broadly across the region," McMaster said. 

With five left days until the August 31 deadline, the US has vowed it will continue to evacuate Americans and helpers, despite concerns of further attacks.  

Australia, however, has suspended its mission at the airport with prime minister Scott Morrison saying this morning that the government was not aware of any Australian personnel being injured or killed in the blasts at this stage.

On Friday morning, US president Joe Biden vowed to "hunt down" the ISIS-K militants responsible for the attack and exact revenge for the killings, saying America "will not forgive, we will not forget".

"We will hunt you down and make you pay," he said from the White House.

'Civil war': Taliban and ISIS 'at each other's throats' in Afghanistan 

The US has spent years fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria but the group and its affiliates could again come to the fore in the region as Afghanistan likely descends into sectarian violence, says Christopher Swift, adjunct professor at Georgetown University in Washington DC.

"It may be surprising to hear that Islamic State or ISIS is operating in Afghanistan and maybe even more surprising to hear that the Taliban don't like them very much," he told the ABC this morning. 

"It's important to know that even though the Taliban is an adversary for us in Afghanistan, ISIS is an adversary for everyone in Afghanistan."

US President Joe Biden pauses for a moment of silence while speaking at the White House. Source: Getty
US President Joe Biden pauses for a moment of silence while speaking at the White House. Source: Getty

The two extremist groups are "literally at each other's throats," he said. "Have been for several years now. It's just not been something widely recognised here in the West."

Prof Swift believes a bloody civil war could emerge under Taliban rule in Afghanistan. 

"The Taliban are going to have an awful rough time administering and governing all this territory they've taken so quickly. They have adversaries among the northern Tajiks and Uzbeks and Hazaras. 

"We're seeing those resistance groups start to coalesce again and get ready to fight another civil war and then have you the sort of internal threat with ISIS presenting a more radicalised jihadi approach to the form of Islamist governance that the Taliban has proposed and tried to implement over the last 20 years. So the Taliban are in for rough sledding."

with Yahoo News US

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