US Sees Credible ISIS Threat Against Kabul Airport

Embassy warned Americans away from airport on Saturday

President Biden says that the US has made a number of changes in and around the airport in the Afghan capital of Kabul, with an eye both toward easing the refugee flight from the country, and more importantly, trying to maintain security in the face of a “real and persistent” threat of an ISIS terror attack in the area.

Officials aren’t detailing the nature of the threats, but are looking to extend the safe zones and provide alternate routes to the airport. The implication of some of the warnings is that the big threat is getting attacked outside the airport along the routes.

The Pentagon further said that they believe ISIS-K poses a threat to attack the airport itself, albeit not an immediate threat. Car bombs, suicide bombs, and mortar attacks are all a possibility.

This security concern is not really new, even if it’s not been talked about before. The local ISIS affiliate, ISIS-K, has been active in Kabul for quite some time, and is almost certain to try to raise its profile after the Taliban takeover.

ISIS got its start as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and expanded into Syria during that war. This led to the establishment of a caliphate there, and affiliates started popping up worldwide. ISIS-K based in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is one of the most dangerous.

Throughout the past several years, ISIS-K has held territory in Nanharhar Province, in the southeast, as well as at times smaller holdings in other provinces. In general, US and Afghan government offensives would have them fleeing temporarily, officials declaring them defeated, and the ISIS-K fighters returning almost immediately to where they were.

ISIS-K has also fought the Taliban, and while the Taliban has had some success clashing with them in some of the more remote ISIS-K outposts, they’re going to certain face fighting over control of some regions in the long run.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.