Suicide Bombings Thrust an Old Battleground Back Into the Spotlight

Journalists mourn for their colleagues, who have been killed in the second bombing, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, April 30, 2018. A coordinated double suicide bombing by the Islamic State group hit central Kabul on Monday morning, killing at least 25 people, including eight journalists, officials said. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)
Journalists mourn for their colleagues, who have been killed in the second bombing, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, April 30, 2018. A coordinated double suicide bombing by the Islamic State group hit central Kabul on Monday morning, killing at least 25 people, including eight journalists, officials said. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

Late yesterday/early this morning, a pair of attackers wielding suicide bombs struck near the Green Zone in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing at least 35 and injuring more.

The attack was brutal. Here’s how Stars and Stripes is reporting it:

The local Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility for the blasts, the first, which occurred just before 8 a.m. near the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s top intelligence agency.

“It was a suicide attacker riding a motor bike,” Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish told Stars and Stripes. “A half-hour later there was a second attack nearby, where a number of journalists and some civilians had gathered to help the victims.”

Danish said the second attacker was disguised as a journalist and caused most of the casualties.

[…]

Elsewhere in Afghanistan on Monday, a suicide bomber targeted a NATO convoy in southern Kandahar province. Deputy police spokesman Matiullah Helal said the blast killed 11 children who were studying in a nearby mosque and wounded five Romanian soldiers.

The last major attack in Kabul, last week, was also carried out by an ISIS suicide bomber, who blew himself up near a voting registration center, killing 60 predominately Shiite Muslims.

After increased pressure from Afghan and U.S. forces in the provinces, the Taliban, too, appear to have shifted tactics to attacking Kabul.

The group announced a new spring offensive on Wednesday. That follows an unusually intense period of violence in the capital over the winter months, which has stoked concerns that the city could see a particularly bloody summer.

It may come as somewhat of a shock, with American attention divided between Syria and North Korea, and the occasional talk of ISIS-claimed attacks worldwide. We have, as a nation, all but forgotten that Afghanistan was the first theater in our War On Terror.

And while there is an established government in Afghanistan, it is little more than a house of cards, corrupt and ill-equipped to deal with the ongoing terror we’ve suddenly been forced to remember existed.

U.S. forces entered Afghanistan and went to work against a terror-endorsing regime that, like other nations in the region, have viewed the West with utter contempt and its culture as morally bankrupt. Allowing Osama bin Laden to reside within its borders and plan his attacks against the U.S., they were a nation that brought the action on themselves.

However, for better or worse – I won’t be arguing the merits of the Iraq War here – we expanded our scope. We have since launched a war in Iraq and sent American troops into other territories to combat ISIS, rebel groups, and even other regimes.

And, while the American media and the American people are distracted by the hijinks in other parts of the world – Russia, North Korea, Iran – and even within our own White House – the fact of the matter is that there are several dangerous places in the world where our military are regularly giving their lives.

It’s no secret that the Republican Party is the party typically in favor of American action abroad, but even that party has floundered in recent years, both as a party of obstruction under Barack Obama and as a party in power under Donald Trump. And, while I am not privy to what is going on in the Pentagon, it does seem like our military is struggling a bit more under a president who ignored security briefings in Barack Obama and one who reads the cliff notes and gets his briefings through Fox and Friends in Donald Trump.

We must remember that we as a nation have as much of an obligation to our troops as they have to our nation. It is our job to support them abroad as they protect our freedoms at home. We must hold our government accountable and ensure that this support abroad is happening.

“Victory” and “defeat” have little meaning in a war on terror that sees new terrorists crop up whenever another is taken out, but surviving the worst the world can throw at our troops is certainly an outcome our government must continue to focus on.