Two Deadly Bombings in two Days

Kabul July 1, 2016 | On Tuesday, three terrorists blew themselves up in Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport killing 42 people and injuring scores of others, almost all innocent civilians. Two days later two suicide bombers hit a convoy of young police cadets on the western outskirts of Kabul killing 30 and injuring more than 50 others. The perpetrators were ISIS and Taliban, respectively.  They both claim to struggle for the establishment of Islamic states based on Sharia.   What they both miss is that they are killing and maiming the same Muslims for whom they claim to establish the states.

Interestingly in their creation, two Islamic states were actively involved and some other oil rich states were helping in financing and supporting the operations. The two terror groups were created, trained, armed and advised for only one purpose by the sponsoring parties to destabilize neighboring countries. Pakistan used the refugee card to draw the world attention to the plight of the Afghans. Pakistan also used the refugee camps as recruiting ground for fighters to go and fight in Afghanistan. By far the best and most effective use of the refugees came later in the creation of a deadly, fanatic and archaic group called the Taliban. Pakistan still shelters, advises, supports and arms the Taliban and many other terror groups to destabilize Afghanistan and India and to secure and safeguard the ill-conceived “Strategic Depth.”  Pakistan has paid a rather heavy price for sponsoring these groups both in terms of its international isolation as well as turmoil and security threats inside the country. However, it is at the point of no return.

Courtesy: Gul Agha

Turkey, perhaps naively thought that it could follow Pakistan’s example in destabilizing its neighbor Syria and eventually topple Bashar Al Assad’s regime. Alas, Syria with the help and support from Russia, Iran and Hizbullah survived the onslaught and is still fighting. The fighting groups that Turkey supported and armed metamorphosed into a deadly, savage and effective killing machine that in a short time took large swathes of land from Syria and Iraq and created what is calls the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Courtesy: Twitter / @LatuffCartoons

Turkey, like Pakistan, used the refugee card accepting people who were fleeing the fighting in Syria with open arms and established camps for them. It had hoped that the regime in Syria would fall soon and they will all go back to their country. Like the refugees in Pakistan, that did not happen and will probably not happen in a long time, if ever. Turkey not only succeeded in drawing the world attention to the situation in Syria, it also managed to create chaos far beyond its borders in Europe. The ripple effect of the refugee crisis is felt all over Europe and it continues to wreak havoc on the economies of the region.  It was perhaps Mr. Erdogan’s way to punish Europe for its lack of support to accept Turkey in the European Union as the Turkey leader so desperately wanted to join.

Now like the Taliban, ISIL is biting the same hand that fed it. Although in the case of Pakistan, it is the splinter group of Taliban, Tehrek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that fights the state and the bulk of the terrorists are in line with their sponsors and are only fighting the neighboring states, so far. However, the terror groups have more sympathy and affinity to each other than to the state that created them. It is a marriage of convenience and would sooner or later will result in a bloody and costly divorce.  There is no guarantee that the rest of the Taliban terrorists would not turn their backs on their benefactors.

In the case of Turkey, that bridge is already crossed and destroyed. The attack on Istanbul airport was really a turning point. Now Turkey has only one choice to fight ISIL tooth and nail. Despite its overtures to Russia, it cannot count on Russia’s support. All anti-ISIS forces such the Kurds, Russians, Iranians, Syrians and Iraqis will not have sympathy with Turkey. The West and NATO will view Turkey with suspicion despite its rhetoric against terrorism.  Being an Islamist that he is, Erdogan has very little support among his allies or even his countrymen who view him as Ataturk’s nemesis.

Beyond the region, in fighting terrorism, the reaction of the West is duplicitous and most puzzling to say the least. On the one hand almost everyone talks of fighting and destroying ISIS. One writer even wrote boldly: “You do what it takes to exterminate terror.” (Ralph Peters,, June 29, 2016). Alliances and groupings are formed and plans are drawn by NATO and by the regional and Islamic countries each with their own agenda. Already the US announced on Thursday that in a bombing raid, it has killed more than 250 ISIS fighters as they were leaving Fallujah in a convoy (ABC, Good Morning America, June 29, 2016). While on the other hand, nobody talks about the creators and sponsors of these terror groups who brought them to being in the first place. It was the money and finance of the rich oil states and fanatic ideology of Wahabism and Salafism that trained the economically poor and gullible young recruits to get a quick ticket to heaven.  They only cooperate to fight ISIS because it has become an existential threat to the theocratic and dictatorial kleptomaniacs in the region. They still continue to support, arm and finance the twin terror group that has wreaked havoc in Afghanistan and region. The Taliban have killed more than the ISIS, Al Qaeda or any other terror groups combined. They are as ruthless, as brutal, as fanatic, as misogynistic and as savage as ISIS. The two are two sides of the same coin.  If at the moment they are not a threat to the West, it does not make them any more acceptable than the ISIS. If fact, they have killed more American and Coalition forces than the ISIS.

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Akram Gizabi

The writer is a former VOA journalist. He is an analyst on Hazaras, Afghanistan, and South Asia. Twitter: @AGizabi

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