2023 Starts with a Bang

Afghanistan rang in 2023 with a bang as a terrorist group exploded a device outside the military hospital in Kabul, as reported by news agency WION. Multiple casualties and deaths are feared. Afghanistan’s Taliban-run government has acknowledged the attack. Residents said they heard a loud explosion near the entrance to a military airfield shortly before 8:00 AM local time Sunday. The hospital is near Kabul (formerly known as Hamid Karzai) International Airport, the site of much upheaval in recent years. The blasts mark the first instance of multiple deaths from a violent source in 2023.

This footage, provided by Twitter and @TajudenSoroush, purportedly shows citizens injured in the attack, which they state resulted from a car bomb.

Possible ISIS Involvement

There have been no immediate claims of responsibility for the bombing. Still, it is well-known that the Islamic State in Khorasan Province has stepped up violent attacks since the Taliban retook the Afghan government in 2021. The two extremist groups have a well-established rivalry. They have been known to target members of the country’s Shiite minority and organized Taliban patrols. The ISIS affiliate was also implicated in a suicide bombing at a mosque that was part of the government ministry. That attack occurred in early October last year, claimed four lives, and seriously wounded 25 other worshipers.

The mosque at the center of the October bombing was part of Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry, which is responsible for security and law enforcement in the Muslim nation. The building was on one of Kabul’s main highways and is located in a fortified compound.

Only a couple of weeks before the October attack, there was another bombing in Kabul, this time at an education center in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood. A suicide bomber killed 19 people and wounded dozens of others. The school was in a predominately Shia Muslim area that was home to a minority Hazara community, according to a government spokesman. The victims were high school-aged students, both boys, and girls, who were taking a practice university entrance exam. Most of the casualties were female.