IS Video Shows Kabul Hotel Attackers’ Allegiance

The Islamic State Khorasan Province group has released a video of two men it claims conducted Monday’s attack on a hotel in Kabul where Chinese nationals, among other guests, were staying.

Five Chinese citizens were wounded in the attack that left several Afghans, including Taliban forces, killed or wounded. A Taliban spokesman said the gunmen were killed by security forces.

The short video shared on Telegram by the Islamic State group (IS) shows two young men talking quietly in what seems to be a Tajiki accent in Farsi as they express allegiance to IS leader Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurashi.

Taliban authorities said three assailants were involved in the attack, but the IS video shows only two.

Attack condemned

Karen Decker, U.S. chargé d’affaires for Afghanistan, condemned the attack.

“Welcome swift investigation, robust response to protect diplomats and the Afghan people. My condolences to the families of the victims and hope for loved ones to recover quickly,” she wrote on Twitter.

On Tuesday, Beijing called on Taliban authorities to ensure greater security for its diplomats and Chinese citizens in Afghanistan.

China is among a few countries that did not shut their embassies in Kabul after the Taliban seized power last year.

In the aftermath of Monday’s attack, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry renewed Beijing’s advice that Chinese nationals leave Afghanistan as soon as possible.

Tajik fighters

Over the past year, IS has “increasingly tried to recruit ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks from Afghanistan and Central Asia,” according to the International Crisis Group (ICG).

In June, an IS attacker, Abu Muhammad al-Tajiki, stormed a Sikh temple in Kabul, killing one worshiper and wounding seven others.

In the same month, the Taliban reportedly killed Yusuf Tajiki, an IS recruiter, in the north of Afghanistan.

“The Taliban are fighting two insurgencies — one led by the Islamic State’s local branch and the second comprising the National Resistance Front (NRF) and other groups aligned with the former [Afghanistan] government,” ICG said in a report in August.

Many NRF leaders are based in Tajikistan, souring Dushanbe’s relations with the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan.

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has called for the creation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan. 

Afghanistan shares a 1,357-kilometer border with Tajikistan. About 5,000 Russian forces are based in Tajikistan, primarily to prevent the flow of illicit drugs and terrorism threats from Afghanistan.

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