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Coronavirus
LOW Source: covid.gov.pk
Pakistan Deaths
28,709
524hr
Pakistan Cases
1,284,365
17624hr
0.48% positivity
Sindh
475,248
Punjab
442,950
Balochistan
33,479
Islamabad
107,626
KPK
179,928

EDITORIAL: The end of war in Afghanistan was supposed to usher in peace and security in that country, but vicious violence still is a clear and present danger. At least 41 people were killed and scores of others injured when two suicide bombers attacked a Shia mosque in Kandahar during Friday prayers. IS-K, a local franchise of the Islamic State group, claimed responsibility for the carnage. Just a week earlier, more than 55 people lost their lives and countless others were wounded when a mosque of the Shia Hazara community came under a similar suicide bombing assault in Kabul. Sadly, the Hazaras, about 10 percent of that country’s population, have been facing discrimination and persecution for decades; and since the rise of violent extremism, in Pakistan’s Balochistan province as well.

The IS-K, an ideological foe of the Taliban, has also been killing Taliban officials. This terrorist outfit has committed some of the worst atrocities in Afghanistan, targeting Shia Muslims in hospitals, girls’ schools, and a university as well as Sikhs. The latest mosque bombing is its fourth mass killing since the Taliban took over power in mid-August. In fact, they have their own history of hounding and harassing the Shia people, though lately they seem to have changed their mind, probably, due to exigencies of time. Now that they are in power, they need to protect the minority communities to stabilise the country. Soon after the mosque bombing in Kandahar, the provincial police chief issued a statement to explain that the security for the masque had been provided by guards from the Shia community, but that henceforth the Taliban would take charge of its protection. A few days earlier, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid had announced in a Twitter post that in a “very decisive and successful operation carried out in the north of Kabul, the IS centre was completely destroyed and all the IS members in it were killed.” Yet it is not without significance that the latest deadly attack took place in Kandahar, the birthplace and spiritual heartland of the Taliban.

Aside from their own reasons to demolish the local branch of the IS, under the peace accord with the US the Taliban have pledged not to allow Afghanistan become a safe haven for terrorist groups, such as the IS and Al Qaeda, which threaten the US and its allies. But there is an upsurge in IS-K attacks following the Taliban takeover more than two months ago. Its fighters are believed to number a couple of thousand, which would make it a formidable adversary in any other situation. However, they are all either defectors from the Afghan Taliban or the so-called Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan (TTP) ensconced in Afghanistan. That means their identity and likely whereabouts can be easily ascertained, if not already known to those who need to know them. It should not be difficult, therefore, to go after these terrorists. In the meantime, the world community must help the new rulers in Kabul overcome the challenge of IS-K in Afghanistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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