Michael Kugelman, Foreign Policy: The Mother of All Terrorist Groups Isn’t the Islamic State
The Trump administration is taking its eyes off the ball in Afghanistan. The real threat is still al Qaeda.
On April 13, the U.S. military dropped a huge bomb on caves and tunnels used by Islamic State fighters in eastern Afghanistan. The resulting blast reverberated several miles away, reportedly killed dozens of terrorists, and exposed the poverty of U.S. policy in Afghanistan.
The “mother of all bombs” was devastating — but it was used against the wrong target, for the wrong reasons. Analysts and Trump administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, have suggested that the bomb was targeted more at intimidating North Korea and Syria than battlefield objectives in Afghanistan.
It’s true that Islamic State-affiliated militants in Afghanistan have claimed a series of attacks over the last few years — including, most recently, a hit on a NATO convoy in Kabul on May 2 that killed eight civilians. Still, they’ve struggled to carve out a major presence in the country. They’ve alienated locals with their savagery and made the Taliban look gentle in comparison. Punishing and sustained U.S. strikes, often undertaken jointly with Afghan forces, have already killed their leaders and badly degraded their ranks.
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WNU Editor: The Taliban and Al Qaeda do appear to be on a roll .... Another District In Afghanistan Has Fallen To The Taliban.