Afghan Special Forces Capture ISIS-K Fighters
26 ISIS-K Fighters Arrested in Kabul by Afghan Special Operations Forces
Afghan Special Operations Forces have seized dozens of Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, ahead of a religious observance in the country, Afghan officials said Tuesday, September 18.
Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS), the country’s main intelligence agency, said in a statement that its special operations forces had arrested 26 Islamic State fighters across Kabul.
The group of fighters, led by Abdullah, was brought to Kabul to launch suicide attacks during the month of Muharram and on the day of Ashura (the anniversary of the death of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam Hussain). Afghan security forces identified and arrested the ferocious terrorists, and thwarted their lethal plans.
In a video released by NDS, those arrested confessed that they were members of the Islamic State terrorist group and were planning to wage attacks in the city.
The arrests are part of a larger security plan put in place by the Afghan government to be proactive and better protect Shi’ite religious minorities against potential IS attacks during Muharram.
September 20 coincides with the 10th of the month of Muharram on the Islamic calendar, when Muslims around the world mourn Hussain’s death.
Shi’ite Paramilitaries Protecting Kabul Mosques from ISIS-K
The government is relying on hundreds of civilians it armed last year to protect Shi’ite mosques in the city.
Najib Danish, a spokesperson for the Afghan Ministry of Interior, told VOA that more than 500 armed civilians are providing security for more than 100 mosques in the capital.
“Our focus is more on vulnerable areas. Our intelligence agencies are more active and strengthened. A joint security plan is already in place to provide security during the 10 days of Muharram,” Danish said.
ISIS-K “Has No Mercy”
One of the armed civilians calling himself Ishaq said that ISIS-K militants are killing people indiscriminately. Ishaq, like many other Afghans, uses a single name.
The group [ISIS-K] has no mercy at all. They kill children, athletes, students and journalists. I have armed myself to protect my people.
Over the last few months, ISIS-K has claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks in Kabul, killing and injuring dozens of civilians.
On Sept. 5, a twin bomb blast at a wrestling club in Dasht-e-Barche, a mainly Shi’ite populated area west of Kabul, killed at least 20 people and wounded more than 60 others.
ISIS-K also claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on an educational center in the same area last month, which killed 48 people and injured 67. The majority of the victims were students under the age of 20.
ISIS’s Khorasan branch has been carrying out deadly terror attacks in various parts of Afghanistan for several years. The group first emerged in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province in 2015, and since then has made inroads into other eastern provinces and parts of the north.
Security analysts believe that ISIS-K is trying to instigate sectarian violence in Afghanistan by targeting the Shi’ite minority.
Image: ISIS-K fighters under arrest in Kabul, Afghanistan, after special forces operations (Afghanistan National Directorate of Security, 2018).