A lethal assault towards American and Afghan civilians can be a catastrophe not just for the USA, but in addition for the Taliban, who’re shifting to consolidate management over Kabul. The Taliban and the Islamic State have been enemies, combating one another on the battlefield for management of components of the nation.

Western counterterrorism analysts say a high-profile assault by ISIS through the evacuation would most definitely elevate the group’s flagging fortunes, recruiting and status.

A United Nations report in June assessed that the Islamic State’s “territorial losses have affected the group’s skill to recruit and generate new funding.”

Though the ISIS affiliate was nonetheless believed to have 1,500 to 2,200 fighters in small areas of Kunar and Nangarhar provinces, the report mentioned, “it has been pressured to decentralize and consists primarily of cells and small teams throughout the nation, performing in an autonomous method whereas sharing the identical ideology.”

Whereas the group suffered army setbacks beginning in summer time 2018, the report concluded that since June 2020, beneath its formidable new chief, Shahab al-Muhajir, the affiliate “stays energetic and harmful,” and is looking for to swell its ranks with disaffected Taliban fighters and different militants.

“On condition that ISIS-Ok and the Taliban are enemies, will probably be a problem for ISIS-Ok,” Mr. Clarke mentioned. “Nonetheless, the Taliban now has its arms full with governing, which is able to devour appreciable bandwidth inside the group.”

Nathan Gross sales, the State Division’s counterterrorism coordinator within the Trump administration, mentioned on Sunday that if the ISIS affiliate was able to attacking the airport in Kabul, “that means Afghanistan after the U.S. withdrawal shall be a permissive setting for all types of terrorist teams, even these hostile to the Taliban.”