Understanding the Islamic State Offshoot behind the Kabul Bombings

The bombings in Kabul that took the lives of more than a dozen U.S. troops, and nearly 100 Afghans, appear to be the work of Islamic State’s “Khorasan Province” (ISKP or ISIS-K), the group’s branch in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In negotiating the current withdrawal from the country, the U.S. government has claimed that the Taliban might in fact restrain both al-Qaeda and ISKP. While ISKP and the Taliban have indeed fought in recent years, such a plan will never work, as Kyle Orton explains:

The Taliban cannot fight al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda has sworn an oath of allegiance to the Taliban’s leader, and on the battlefield they are completely intertwined. One of the most visible Taliban leaders in Kabul has been Khalil Haqqani, who is a senior operative in the Haqqani Network. This network is deeply woven into al-Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan and has leaders simultaneously holding senior positions in the Taliban. These organizational overlaps are reinforced by family ties. In short, there is no real-world distinction between the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

There is a distinction between the Taliban and ISKP, and indeed a venomous hatred. But what is clear from the attack at the airport is that either the Taliban was complicit—by halting an evacuation of Afghans who helped [the West]—or the Taliban was unable to stop this. In either case it is risible to suggest that the Taliban can assist in counterterrorism.

At root, the distinction between ISKP and the Taliban is [that] ISKP is a non-state actor and the Taliban is a wing of the Pakistani state. The network of jihadists that has just taken over Afghanistan—led by the Taliban and the Haqqani Network—is just the latest iteration of Pakistan’s jihad project in Afghanistan, which began no later than 1974.

It is too late to save Afghanistan, but at least it might set us—at long last—on a better policy track in dealing with Pakistan as it is: a state sponsor of terror that has killed thousands of our people and tens of thousands of Afghans.

Read more at UnHerd

More about: Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Pakistan, Taliban, U.S. Foreign policy

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University