The Biden Administration’s ISIS-K Narrative Is A Lie…A Poorly Crafted Lie

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Biden conspires with Haqqanis to lie about American deaths.

Since the beginning of the Afghanistan withdrawal, the Biden administration has lied about virtually everything. It should come as no great surprise then that it should lie as well about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the Marines and Navy corpsman killed in the recent suicide attack.

The official narrative is as follows. The Taliban, against whom we have been fighting for twenty years and who have killed well over two thousand Americans, are now responsible partners in the war against terror. Khalil Haqqani, designated international terrorist with a multi-million dollar bounty on his head, is now “cooperating” with us to protect American lives. The attack on our forces at the airport was the work of an obscure ISIS offshoot called ISIS-K, and no one worked harder to prevent the attack than our new friends the Taliban.

On its face, the proposition is, of course, absurd. Kabul is fully under the control of Taliban forces. The Taliban has checkpoints on virtually every street corner, checking identification and searching bags and rounding up opponents of the regime. Khalil Haqqani, who now runs security in Kabul, is nothing if not a hard, ruthless operator. The idea that ISIS-K terrorist cells are roaming a city under his control and he cannot find or stop them is absurd.

Perhaps more importantly, however, blaming ISIS-K and absolving the Taliban of responsibility flies in the face of what we actually know about the groups on the ground. It is not only a lie. It is a poorly crafted lie.

Former Afghanistan vice president, Amrullah Saleh summed up what we do know quite neatly in a recent tweet. “Every evidence we have in hand shows that IS-K cells have their roots in Talibs and Haqqani network particularly the ones operating in Kabul. Talibs denying links with ISIS is identical/similar to denial of Pak on Quetta Shura. Talibs have learned very well from the master.”

In fact, ISIS-K has had a close, symbiotic relationship with the Haqqani network for years. An examination of attacks staged by ISIS-K shows a pattern of the group carrying out attacks on behalf of the Haqqanis but from which the Haqqanis for political reasons wish to keep a little distance. Having ISIS-K carry out or at least claim to have carried out the attacks allows the Haqqanis to send a signal and strike opponents and yet maintain the fiction that someone else did it.

For example, in March last 2020, terrorists attacked a Sikh shrine in Kabul, killing at least 25 people. ISIS-K claimed responsibility, but two months later Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) reported the capture of members of the cell that carried out the attack. That cell turned out to be composed of members of both ISIS-K and the Haqqani Network, demonstrating clearly the groups had worked together on the operation.

In August 2020, Afghan Interior Minister and NDS director-general Masoud Andrabi stated the new leader of ISIS-K, Shahab al-Mahajir, was a member of the Haqqani Network. “Haqqani & the Taliban carry out their terrorism on a daily basis across Afg & when their terrorist activities does (sic) not suit them politically they rebrand it under ISKP,” he said, using an alternative acronym for ISIS-K.

U.N. Security Council monitoring reports have also referred to ISIS-K–Haqqani links. One such report in May 2020 said two Taliban commanders in Kunduz province, named Mawlawi Satar and Mawlawi Abdullah Majid, had traveled to Nangarhar province to fight for ISIS-K. The report also stated that some of the terrorist attacks claimed by ISIS-K “may have arisen wholly or partly from a tactical accommodation with the Haqqani Network.”

“Member States have commented that most attacks claimed by ISIL-K demonstrated some degree of ‘involvement, facilitation, or the provision of technical assistance’ by the Haqqani Network,” the report continued. “The Monitoring Team has previously viewed communication intercepts following ISIL-K claimed attacks that were identified as traceable to known members of the Haqqani Network.”

The report also said that “operations resulting in civilian casualties allow Taliban deniability whereas ISIL-K is willing to claim responsibility to demonstrate capability and relevance.”

“It almost seems that in this transactional partnership, the Taliban hardliners have found a willing scapegoat in ISIS-K and have outsourced their dirty work of targeting civilians,” Atlantic Council senior fellow Javid Ahmad Ahmad has stated. “In fact, there have been instances of simultaneous attacks on the same day in a city, where ISIS-K has claimed the attack on civilian targets while the Taliban claims the one on Afghan forces and institutions.”

All of this information is, of course, well known to American intelligence. Biden and his key advisors almost certainly were told as much. The Haqqanis, who now control Kabul, use ISIS-K as muscle and to launch those attacks from which the Haqqanis themselves would prefer to keep a little distance. The attack on Americans at Kabul airport would be the definition of such a situation. Painting the attack as being carried out by some rogue element, ISIS-K, allowed the Haqqanis to send the signal they wanted, “Get Out”, while simultaneously maintaining the fiction that they were not targeting our servicemen.

For Joe, though, the truth would be inconvenient. Admitting that his newfound partner, international terrorist Khalil Haqqani had just blown up a bunch of Americans, might prompt calls for a swift and forceful response. Somebody might even suggest that since we now knew where Khalil was and that he had yet again killed Americans it might be a good time to take him out.

Biden could not take that chance. Selling his Afghan debacle as anything less than a disaster has always depended heavily on pushing the narrative that the “new” Taliban are kinder and gentler than the old. Admitting they just targeted our personnel would make that problematic. So, the only option was to publicly accept the Haqqani lie.

It wasn’t us. It was those guys over there.

It was a lie, but for Joe, it was a convenient lie.

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