This is not the first time fighters operating under the banner of Daesh commit such atrocities. Previously, the terrorist organization has carried out extremely horrible acts of terror in Afghanistan, ranging from blowing up grey-bearded men with explosives to slaughtering children.
Although initial assumptions were that the possibility of Daesh gaining a foothold and expanding in Afghanistan was very low as its conduct is in utter conflict with Afghan values, the ground realities over the past two years rendered the previous calculations wrong. Besides being a great threat in eastern provinces, especially in Nangarhar, the terror group has also reportedly made inroads into the country’s southern, northern and western regions.
There are some concerns and questions about the attitude of Afghan government and its international allies toward Daesh, even to the extent that some elements within the government have been accused of supporting the group. The dichotomy between what the government says and what it does has also raised some questions. The government, in particular the president, has often claimed to have suppressed the terror group, but after a while, the fighters again carry out some kind of attacks that contradict government claims. Also, the US-led NATO Resolute Support Mission (RSM) has claimed times and again that Daesh has weakened in Afghanistan, but it is hard to buy into those assertions considering the growing Daesh activities.
The dichotomy between words and ground realities has also worried the regional states. They who could not expressly voice their concerns at the beginning now openly declare that Daesh is a conspiracy against them. Because of this very fear, some regional powers have now resorted to backing other militants groups such as the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Together with its western allies, the Afghan government needs to truly address the concerns of Afghans and regional countries regarding the fight against the Islamic State terror group. Terrorists such as Daesh can only be defeated through concrete actions other than mere slogans as Afghans also no longer believe in them without tangible results.