Afghanistan awoke this morning to the sound of rockets exploding in residential areas of Kabul. According to recent reports, ISIS operatives launched 23 rockets across the city. The death count at the time of publishing is eight; scores more have been injured. Sadly, this has become the norm in the nation’s capital. 

The rockets landed all over the city. According to reports from TOLONews, rockets were fired on several different parts of the city in what is believed to be a coordinated attack by IS-K, the Islamic State’s wing in Afghanistan. IS-K has been steadily increasing its deadly attacks across the country since the start of the intra-Afghan peace talks in Doha on September 12th of this year. 

This most recent attack comes on the heels of an announcement from acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller which outlined a U.S. troop drawdown in the country by January 15th. The announcement is widely seen as a reaffirmation of President Trump’s promise to bring the war in Afghanistan to a close before the end of his first term in office. 

But with the peace talks ongoing in Doha and violence on the rise, many are worried about the long-term ramifications of the Trump administration’s race to drastically decrease U.S. involvement in the region. It seems the cries to end the “endless war” are tempered by the violence witnessed in Kabul today. And that is the problem. 

It’s easy to mistake our ISIS enemies as ruthless killers. Perhaps it is even easier to brush them off as mindless thugs. But the truth of the matter is that they are savvy strategists who routinely use violence and the threat of violence to manipulate governments, military commanders, and the hearts of innocent civilians in Afghanistan and here in the United States. Make no mistake: our enemies are shrewd.