Islamic State Boasts About Russian Embassy Suicide Bombing, Signals Further Attacks on International Targets
On September 5, a suicide bomber of the Islamic State Khurasan Province (ISKP) detonated at the entrance of the Russian embassy, killing two diplomatic mission employees and at least six other people. In the wake of the attack, the Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency claimed that its martyr penetrated the Taliban’s security and reached the gate of the complex then set off his vest killing Russian “embassy employees, contractors, and spies of the Russian forces”.
Lucas Webber @LucasADWebberIn January for @JamestownTweets, I wrote about the #IslamicState’s anti-#Russia propaganda campaign and criticism of #Taliban-Russian relations #ISKP https://t.co/qCBouPOsWG https://t.co/jOxbK1Fbye
IS gloated about the death toll, which they placed at 25, and noted that “the attack came just days after a Taliban spokesman reassured “the countries of the region, including Russia”, not to “worry” and the threat of Islamic State warriors in Afghanistan.” This statement quite clearly indicates the Islamic State’s strategy was to hit the Russian target in part to undermine Moscow’s confidence in the Taliban’s ability to provide security in Afghanistan. Russia is also a top-tier enemy of the Islamic State, and the operation sends a message to other countries that foreign nationals and interests are not safe from ISKP in Afghanistan.
The Islamic State’s weekly newsletter al-Naba, published Thursday, includes an editorial about Russia and the Taliban, a section providing details of the attack, as well as an infographic about the operation. The attack dominated the front page of al-Naba with a photo of the embassy and a headline and description of the operation.
The infographic celebrates the martyr and names him as Waqqas al-Waziristani.
The editorial boasts about the attack against the “Crusaders” who have been fighting Muslims for years. IS claims Russia sees Afghanistan as strategically significant and its embassy is key in pursuing its security goals, thus making it a high-value target.
The group says the Taliban is desperate to keep the Russian diplomatic mission open and begs the Indians, Americans, Chinese, and Iranians to continue diplomatic operations in Afghanistan. IS argues that “Crusader” embassies and consulates play key roles in their wars against Muslims. And because of this, they assert that targeting said diplomatic facilities is necessary and indicate such attacks will continue in the future. The facilities are referred to as “spy dens” and are used to coordinate military and intelligence action against IS.
The Taliban is scorned for its relations with Russia and other “enemies of Islam”. They draw similarities between the Russian embassy attack and the Kabul Airport suicide bombing that killed American military forces last year. The attack demonstrated the Islamic State’s continued ability to strike the Taliban and their international guests, once again exposing the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s weaknesses and limited capabilities.