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The Iraqi embassy in Kabul has never been a target for terrorists. In a first, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group launched a suicide bombing and a gun attack on the Iraqi embassy in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul.

The sequence of events as reported by an eye witness is that a suicide bomber blew himself up in front of the gate and the resultant confusion allowed three ISIS fighters to sneak into the Iraqi compound. A gun battle lasting 4 hours took place and all the attackers were neutralized. Al Jazeera has reported that the ISIS claimed that the fighters killed seven guards, a claim denied by the government which claimed that only one security person was injured.

Al Jazeera has reported this news.

Dangerous Kabul

The embassy is located in a crowded part of the city known as Shahr-e-New, which lies outside the so-called Green Zone where most foreign embassies and diplomatic missions are located. The immediate provocation for the attack was the celebration of the defeat of the ISIS and liberation of Mosul by the Iraqi embassy a week back

It is reported that all the embassy personnel is safe and the Ambassador has been spirited away to safety. The building has suffered a fair amount of damage and some rooms have been burned and windows were broken. The attack comes a week after the Taliban carried out a suicide attack on government workers killing 35 and underlines that the situation is fast getting out of control, with the Afghan army unable to counter the terror groups.

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The ISIL has lost large tracts of land in the Middle East as well as 80% of its revenue. It is out for revenge and this attack is part of that.

Trumps dilemma

NATO forces ended their combat mission in Afghanistan at the end of 2014. At that time President Obama probably overestimated the prowess of the Afghan army and did not take into account the resilience of the ISIS and Taliban. Since then, Afghan troops and police have struggled to beat back the fighters and in 2017, hundreds have been killed in Kabul alone. Donald Trump beset by problems at home with the “Russian connection” breathing down his back has to attend to the Afghan problem.

There is talk that the US presence will be bolstered and there are reports that General Mattis has been given a free hand to decide on the troop levels. It is clear in case US troops do not come to the aid of the Afghan army, it won’t be long before the Taliban overrun them. Donald is more concerned with North Korea but there is a case for him to do something proactive in Afghanistan.