violence threatens peace process

Afghan security forces arrive at the site of a bombing in a mosque in Kabul on June 2.
Afghan security forces arrive at the site of a bombing in a mosque in Kabul on June 2. Rahmat Gul / AP

The image is strong. Hundreds of Afghan religious marching on Thursday, June 4, in the province of Takhar, in the northeast of the country, to demand justice after the death of Ayaz Niazi, the imam of the Wazir Akbar Khan mosque, in Kabul, in an attack on Tuesday during the evening prayer. Far from the capital, this demonstration reflects the emotion that crossed this very religious country. The attack, claimed by the Islamic State (IS) on Thursday, comes against a backdrop of renewed violence as the peace process launched by the Taliban and the Americans in late February remains at a standstill.

The personality of Mullah Niazi, who was buried Thursday in the mosque targeted two days earlier, was known to both Afghans and Westerners. Its mosque is located just outside the green zone where the main regime institutions, embassies and NATO headquarters are gathered behind high secure walls. The imam was educated at Cairo University where he worked on the links between Islam and the economy on the one hand, and international relations on the other. He also practiced at the University of Kabul and claimed a loud and frank verb in front of those who came to hear him preach as in front of his foreign visitors.

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In its claim, the IS moreover criticizes him for his contacts with foreign interlocutors as with the Afghan power whose palaces are only a few hundred meters from the mosque. In recent weeks, this insurgent group, officially opposed to the Taliban, has multiplied attacks. They took charge of the bloody operation carried out on 12 May against a Doctors Without Borders maternity hospital in Kabul and more recently on 30 May the bombing of a minibus of an Afghan television channel which claimed the lives of two of its employees and injured eight others.

“Daesh has not been eradicated”

Many officials had considered, at the beginning of the year, thanks to massive surrenders of ISIS members and their families in Nangarhar province, their stronghold, that the activity of this movement would slow down . In addition, on May 6, a large IS cell was dismantled in Kabul and, on May 11, three senior IS officials in South Asia, including the regional leader of the movement, were arrested in the Afghan capital.

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It has not happened. Its members are still active and present, especially in Kabul and the neighboring province of Logar. Uninterested in the ongoing peace process, they mostly attack ethnic minorities, Sikhs, Hazara or foreigners. “Daesh has not been eradicated, confirms Western diplomat joined in Kabul, they still have infantrymen, they receive money from Pakistan and can benefit from logistical support from the Haqqani network, allied with the Taliban. “

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