"Until Saturday, Kabul residents mostly knew of Islamic State’s operations in Afghanistan through reports of pockets of militants fighting under that name in some eastern districts. They had never felt their presence up close. On Saturday, that appears to have changed. According to the group’s news agency, Amaq, it was Isis who sent two suicide bombers into a crowd of peaceful, civilian protesters, killing at least 80 and wounding more than 200. The statement called the crowd 'a Shia gathering'. Most of the protesters were members of the ethnic Hazara minority. The Taliban were quick to condemn what was one of the deadliest single attacks in Afghanistan since 2001. While the exact number of attackers or blasts was unknown, Afghan authorities confirmed that Isis was behind the bombings," Sune Engel Rasmussen writes for the Guardian.
"The attack on peaceful protesters in Kabul — who were mostly from the Hazara ethnic minority — stirred an international outcry, in part because it was the first time that the Islamic State’s leadership in Syria had claimed responsibility for such a deadly strike in Afghanistan. But some here voiced skepticism that the terrorist group, whose fighters in Afghanistan are concentrated in the east, was behind it. The detail hardly seemed to matter to others, who see the bombing as another in a long procession of attacks born of a chaotic and unending war," Mujib Mashal, Zahra Nader, and Jawad Sukhanyar write for the New York Times.
"The Afghan government would be facing a far less grave security situation today had the US and NATO not caused so much civilian harm prior to transition, as we heard from many senior US and Afghan officials and experts in our research. This harm was caused in a number of ways, including entrenching abusive local commanders for short-term security gains, or being hoodwinked into targeting civilians accused of being Taliban by their rivals, as well as civilian casualties in air strikes and detention operations. Despite the very real short-term threat from the Taliban, the Afghan security forces need to recognise that restraint is a strategic necessity in the mid to long-term," Rachel Reid writes for Al Jazeera.