Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi

Afghans pull out welcome mat for Baghdadi’s death

The self-styled Caliph Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, leader of the notorious jihadist Islamic State (IS), killed himself after the US Special Forces raided his whereabouts on 27 October in northwestern Syria. His death was well received by Afghans.

In 2014 when the IS was controlling a large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, Afghanistan outfit of the group, known as Islamic State – Khurasan Province (ISKP), sprang up in some parts the country. Ever since 2014, the IS carried out multiple deadly attacks on public gatherings—particularly targeting the Shia community of the country.

Afghans welcomed the death of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi

Issuing a statement on Sunday’s night, October 27, the Afghan presidential palace said Baghdadi’s death plays a crucial role in improvement of security.

Office of the Chief Executive also described Baghdadi’s death as a ‘step forward’ in ensuring peace and stability in the region.

Former Afghan spy chiefs who are vocal critics of Pakistan’s double standard policy on fight against terrorism, particularly in Afghanistan, welcomed Baghdadi’s death. They are calling on US to expand its anti-terrorist campaign into Pakistan.

“The ordinary Afghans welcome the news of Baghdadi’s death,” former Afghan spy chief, Rahmatullah Nabil tweeted, stressing that success in the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan depends on elimination of terrorist leaders and their sanctuaries deep inside Pakistan.

Former head of National Directorate of Security Amrullah Saleh, who is a running mate of President Ghani in 2019 presidential election, praised the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for locating the IS leader. “Congrats to all humanity. Wish you good luck in locating Quetta Shura too. It is much easier,” he noted.

Former president Hamid Karzai, who is always keen in denouncing alleged Afghan and foreign raids causing civilian casualties, has yet to comment over the death of al-Baghdadi.

As in Syria and Iraq, Afghanistan’s Shia community, predominantly Hazaras, have been largely targeted in ISKP suicide bombings, attacks, and offensives in different cities of the country, from religious ceremonies to wedding parties.

In an attack, the terrorist group targeted a wedding ceremony in the western neighborhood of Kabul city on August 17, killing 80 people and injuring more than 182 others.

Mohammad Mohaqiq, who is a popular Hazara politician, welcomed Baghdadi’s death. He condemned the group for its brutality.   

Another well-known politician of the community, Sadiq Mudabbir, noted, “Baghdadi’s death is a big blow to Daesh group and like-minded people.”

Some Afghan social media users have also shared their views on Baghdadi’s death.

Hadi Miran, an activist, condemns the jihadist ideology which breeds jihadist militancy such as the IS. He also criticizes the superpowers for nourishing jihadist ideology for their interests.  “Whenever wealthy superpowers decide, Daesh will emerge and Baghdadi will raise,” he stated.

Pointing to killing of Osam bin Laden, leader of al-Qaida, Ajmal Asifi wrote on Facebook account that death of terrorist leaders cannot bring substantial change in terrorist organizations, arguing that it is a system that plays a big role in formation of terrorist organizations, not their leaders. “If the world is looking to combat against terrorist groups, they must annihilate their systems,” he asserted.

Sarajuddin Isar tweeted, “The world is no longer safe as it wasn’t in post Osama time.”

“ISIS has masterminded a lot of deadly attacks in Afghanistan which killed innocent civilians,” Wais Ahmad Alizai wrote on his twitter, adding that now, the world is much safer.  

The jihadist IS militants just a month after the emergence of the group massacred thousands of the Yazidi religious community and enslaved hundreds of Yazidi women in Iraq. Many young Yazidi women fled their hometown.