On Monday, a suicide attack occurred near Afghanistan’s foreign ministry in Kabul, killing six civilians and injuring several others. The interior ministry confirmed that the attacker was identified by Afghan forces and shot at in front of a business center near the foreign ministry. However, the explosives he carried detonated, killing six civilians and injuring many others.
Italian non-governmental organization Emergency, which runs a hospital in the capital, confirmed receiving two dead and twelve injured, including a child. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet. Monday’s incident was the second attack near the foreign ministry in less than three months, and the first since the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began on Thursday in Afghanistan.
Security has improved in the country since the Taliban returned to power in August 2021, ending their two-decade insurgency, but the Islamic State group has posed an increasing threat. The Taliban authorities have attempted to downplay attacks challenging their rule. In January, a suicide bomber blew himself up near the foreign ministry, killing ten and injuring 53 people, according to the United Nations. The Taliban had said that five people were killed in that attack, which was claimed by IS.
IS has become a significant challenge, killing and injuring hundreds of people in several attacks, including some targeting foreigners or foreign interests to undermine the Taliban government. In December, gunmen stormed a hotel in Kabul, injuring at least five Chinese nationals, and an attack on Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul was also claimed by IS. The Taliban and IS share an austere Sunni Islamist ideology, but the latter is fighting to establish a global “caliphate,” while the Taliban’s aim is to rule an independent Afghanistan.
The attack on Monday underscores the challenges the Taliban faces in maintaining security and stability in the country, particularly as IS continues to carry out deadly attacks. Despite the Taliban’s promises to provide a secure environment, attacks such as this will undoubtedly erode public confidence in the new regime’s ability to govern effectively. The international community, including neighboring countries, must support Afghanistan in addressing the threat posed by IS and other violent extremist groups to prevent further violence and instability.