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Amrullah Saleh (ehem. Leiter des National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan)

Afghanistan blames Taliban splinter group for Kabul University attack

Afghan leaders believe tactics used in the ISIS-claimed attack resembles those used by a Taliban splinter group known as ‘Fateh Zwak’. But insurgent leadership denies any involvement

By Farhad Naibkhel

KABUL: First Vice President Amrullah Saleh has blamed a Taliban splinter group for attack on Monday on Kabul University campus that left at least 22 people dead, mostly students and girls.

Saleh believes that the tactics used by terrorists in the attack on Kabul University resembles tactics of a new Taliban splinter group which emerged recently in Khost under the name of ‘Fateh Zwak’.

The Taliban denied involvement in the attack, and the ISIS-affiliated militants in the country claimed the responsibility.

Afghan leaders, however, have dismissed that possibility. Vice president Amrullah Saleh completely rejected the idea of a Daesh involvement, insisting that the Taliban’s new splinter ‘Fateh Zwak’ was behind it, hinting at similarity of tactic used by terrorists in Monday’s attack and that of the new group.

IS-K (Daesh) had claimed that two of its fighters, Anas al-Panjshiri and Tariq al-Khorasani, were targeting newly-graduated judges and lawyers in the attack on Monday. However, the Ministry of Interior said there were three attackers and vice president Saleh said the weapons found on the scene did not match the one in the IS-K declaration.

Saleh wrote on his Facebook page that the IS-K declaration was “fake” as they recovered a Taliban flag and the faces of the terrorists also do not match the photos released.

“The Taliban flag is one of the items found from the terrorist’s box,” Saleh said. “On the wall of the room, like other terrorist attacks, they wrote their last words, “Long live the Taliban!”

He said the tactic was the same as the Haqqani network’s and the operation is “100% similar” to the Fateh Zwak group in Khost.

In the past, IS-K operatives led by Salahuddin of Paghman district and Sanaullah of Shakardara districts of Kabul carried out such attack and they had close ties to the Haqqani network and were former members of the network, Saleh said.

“We have dozens of hard and soft pieces of evidence to prove that this crime was committed by the Taliban. But to attribute this crime to IS-K is just a declaration trying to cleanse the Taliban’s hands and conscience of this dark and heinous sin.”

He added that IS-K would not be able to operate without the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Saleh said it is unclear how the terrorists entered the campus but they are reconstructing the scene to try to understand.

The attack on Kabul University ended after six hours with 22 people killed and 27 injured.

This is as Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, tweeted pictures of a Taliban flag stained with blood and a scribble on the wall in Kabul University (which was used as evidence to incriminate the Taliban) and said the evidence is rigged and that the Taliban didn’t carry out the attack.

The attack marks the second terrorist assault on education institutions in Kabul. On October 25, a suicide bomber killed 24, most of whom teen students, outside a tutoring center in western Kabul. The Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack.

This signals a dangerous escalation of attacks on education and a shift in terrorist tactics to target Afghanistan’s students, with an attempt to prevent from educational development and plunge Afghanistan into darkness.

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