85 people were killed and 147 injured — mostly children — in a ruthless bombing of the Sayed Al-Shuhada school in Kabul. The school formally educates girls.
The attackers were targeting the Hazara population, which is part of Afghanistan’s Shia Muslim minority. The latest bloodshed threatens to plunge Afghanistan into a sectarian conflict as the Biden administration begins withdrawing troops from the region.
No group has officially taken responsibility for this slaughter. The Afghan government has publicly accused the Taliban, but they have formally denied involvement. Some Arab media outlets are reporting a rumor that it was ISIS, but the group has not confirmed culpability.
A statement from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has accused the United States, stating that the Pentagon has revived an ISIS in Afghanistan by infiltrating heavily armed “Takfiri” (a pejorative term for ISIS and Al Qaeda supporters) fighters from Syria and Iraq to provoke a civil war as the American occupation winds down.
While the Afghanistan war has been unpopular in America for years, a number of Jewish and neo-conservative think-tanks have protested against ending it because it theoretically could allow Iran to expand its geopolitical footprint in the region.
If the US leaves and the country stably transitions towards independence, Iran could potentially fill the power vacuum.
But another scenario, where the US leaves and the country spirals into civil war, could potentially destabilize Iran through a massive refugee crisis that it has been partnering with the Afghan government to prevent.
The Iranians have not released details on why they believe Washington is playing an integral role in the uptick of violence in Afghanistan. In 2019, a spokesman for the Taliban and various local government officials complained that American special forces had raided a Taliban-run prison that was holding dozens of ISIS commanders and evacuated them via helicopter to an unknown location.