Iran Warns Against ‘Divisive Schemes’ in Afghanistan as ISIS Wages War Across Ethnic Lines

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has shared with Newsweek a warning in opposition to plots to tear Afghanistan aside as the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) claimed yet one more assault in opposition to the nation’s Shiite Muslim group utilizing attackers from totally different ethnic teams.

ISIS’ Khorasan affiliate, identified as ISIS-Okay, claimed accountability on Friday for a suicide bombing that killed greater than 50 worshippers at a Shiite Muslim mosque in town of Kandahar. The attackers had been recognized as Anas al-Khorasani and Abu Ali al-Balochi, doubtless monickers to attach the 2 historic areas comprising components Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.

The operation got here every week after the jihadis focused one other gathering of Shiite Muslims, most of whom hail from Afghanistan’s Hazara group, in town of Kunduz, killing as much as 100 folks and injuring scores extra. That attacker then was recognized by ISIS-Okay as Mohammad al-Uyghuri, signaling a connection to Central Asia’s Uyghur minority.

Every week earlier, a Sunni Muslim mosque was attacked in the capital Kabul and, as Afghanistan’s now ruling Taliban try to rein in the chaos, neighboring Iran, the world’s prime Shiite Muslim energy, has issued a message.

“Once again the enemies of Islam pulled the strings of the criminal Takfiri terrorists and spilled the blood of a number of the oppressed people of Afghanistan during Friday prayers,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry mentioned in a press release despatched to Newsweek.

The ministry mentioned it “strongly condemns the terrorist attack by the Takfiris at the Fatemieh Mosque in Kandahar which martyred and wounded a large number of worshippers.” The ministry additionally “offers condolences to the honorable families of the martyrs and the dear people of Afghanistan and it prays for patience and divine reward for the bereaved families and fast recovery for those injured in this inhumane crime.”

And Tehran expressed a warning as properly.

ISIS, Khorasan, attack, Kandahar, mosque
The Iranian Foreign Ministry mentioned it “strongly condemns” a terror assault at a mosque in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Above, ISIS’ Amaq News Agency claims accountability for a lethal assault on October 15, 2021.
Amaq News Agency

“The Foreign Ministry also warns of plots by the Islamic ummah’s enemies to cause divisions and stresses the need for unity and solidarity among Shias and Sunnis and for rejection of violence and extremism in the name of Islam,” the ministry mentioned.

Iranian officers additionally referred to as for fortifying the defenses of holy websites in the wake of the turmoil, which they imagine Afghans would in the end overcome.

“This heart-wrenching incident and the past tragic events including the terrorist attack in Konduz highlight more than ever before the need for beefing up security and boosting protection of Shia and Sunni worshiping places and other gatherings in Afghanistan,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry added. “The Islamic Republic of Iran is confident that our Muslim brothers and sisters in Afghanistan will foil the divisive schemes of their enemies through solidarity, co-thinking and joint efforts.”

The governments of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan have all struggled for ages with numerous rebel teams, a lot of which have mobilized throughout sectarian traces.

Lucas Webber, a researcher specializing in non-state actors and militant organizations who serves as editor for the Militant Wire outlet, mentioned the attribution of the final two assaults by ISIS was doubtless no coincidence.

“It seems quite deliberate for the Islamic State to signal how militants of various ethnic backgrounds are carrying out these attacks,” Webber informed Newsweek. “It serves, in part, as a way to show how the Islamic State organization and ideology can transcend ethnicity—to some extent at least.”

Unlike the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, which had been born out of the U.S.- and Pakistan-backed mujahideen resistance in opposition to the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the Nineteen Eighties, ISIS was fashioned from Al-Qaeda’s Iraq affiliate in the wake of the U.S. invasion that toppled the nation’s longtime chief, Saddam Hussein, in 2003. Two years earlier, the U.S. intervened in Afghanistan to tackle a Taliban-led authorities that sheltered Al-Qaeda after the 9/11 assaults.

The U.S. military would stay in the nation for twenty years, in the end leaving on the finish of August after a peace deal struck by the earlier administration led by President Donald Trump in February of final 12 months. As President Joe Biden wrapped up the withdrawal, allied Afghan safety forces shortly collapsed nationwide and in the end gave option to the Taliban’s entry into Kabul, the place the reincarnation of their Islamic Emirate was introduced final month.

The Taliban, comprised largely of Pashtuns, has vowed to guard peoples of all backgrounds in Afghanistan, which is dwelling to an array of different smaller ethnic populations together with Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks.

Among the teams, Hazaras are the one ones who predominantly adhere to the Shiite department of Islam, which ISIS ultraconservatives liken to apostasy in their hardline model of Sunni Islam. Many Hazaras have additionally accused the Taliban of oppression and a big quantity have fled over previous a long time to neighboring Iran.

In order to counter ISIS’ unfold in Iraq and Syria, Iran has mobilized plenty of Shiite Muslim teams together with a largely Hazara group identified as the Fatemiyoun Division, which stays energetic in Syria to today.

The Fatemiyoun on Friday condemned the latest spate of ISIS assaults in Afghanistan, calling it “a brutal terrorist attack that is the result of Salafi-Takfiri thinking.”

Kamran Bokhari, Director of Analytical Development on the Washington-based Newlines Institute for Strategy, informed Newsweek that, whereas ISIS’ recruiting of separatist teams are sure to irk plenty of regional powers, particularly preying on China’s considerations towards Uyghur militias, “the people who are going to be most provoked are the Iranians.”

He mentioned that ISIS is “engaged in a deliberate information operation campaign to really get under the skin of the Iranians.” And the concept, he argued was “to trap the Taliban” in a scenario in which they both go in opposition to an much more fundamentalist Sunni Muslim contingent, risking potential defections amongst their very own ranks, or hazard the potential for worldwide intervention after working so arduous to construct up worldwide clout.

“So where does that leave the Iranians? They’re going to try to activate the militias,” Bokhari mentioned, referencing Iran’s technique in Syria to “defend the shrines.” And “to protect Shiites here,” Bokhari added, citing a possible Iranian strategy to Afghanistan, “because nobody is protecting them.”

ISIS, attack, mosque, Kandahar
Above, Afghan males examine the damages inside a Shiite Muslim mosque in Kandahar on October 15, after a suicide bomb assault throughout Friday prayers that killed as much as 50 folks and dozens extra. ISIS claimed the assault as a part of a lethal marketing campaign that threatens to undermine the Taliban’s newly established authorities in Afghanistan.

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