The overall situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating

The overall security context in Afghanistan is not statistically worse than it was before, but the sophistication of operations and the choice of targets by local militant groups are worrying.

After the attack on the headquarters of Afghan intelligence services (NDS) in southeastern Kabul on March 1, 2017, the attack on the Afghan military hospital in Kabul on March 8, 2017 confirmed the complexity of the tactical environment and the forces involved. If the attack on March 1 was claimed by the Taliban, that of March 8 was claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS).

According to Cyceon’s correspondent who was just a few steps away from the last attack, ISIS operatives conducted a sophisticated commando operation sending a suicide man first with a view to opening the way for three others disguised as medics, each of whom went to a separate floor inside the building to maximize the number of victims.

It appears that operating and “VIP” rooms were knowingly targeted. More importantly, the Taliban could have been deliberately targeted while other operations were being carried out at the same time, something that couldn’t be confirmed.

Our correspondent suggested that, in the context of a loss of financial resources in the Syria / Iraq area, ISIS could seek to capture some revenue from the Afghan production sold on the international drug market, therefore competing directly with the Taliban.

Cyceon drew two main conclusions from these events: 1) hospitals have become a target and security measures must be increased; the use of a similar modus operandi including a suicide attack in order to enter the facilities must be considered 2) the tactical capabilities of hostile operatives have sophisticated; the firing of two RPGs near or towards the embassy district on the evening of March 7, 2017 in Kabul was an additional indication of it.