China: Biden's Afghanistan Disaster Made Russia Terror Attack Possible

The Chinese state propaganda Global Times newspaper blamed President Joe Biden’s disastrous extension of the 20-year Afghan war and subsequent Taliban conquest of Kabul for creating the conditions to allow a harrowing terrorist attack in Moscow on Friday, which the Islamic State claimed responsibility for.

Gunmen opened fire at a crowd inside the Crocus City concert hall in the suburbs of Moscow, Russia, on Friday evening, where the rock band Piknik was scheduled to perform. Footage from the site showed terrorists shooting indiscriminately into the concert hall and attempting to kill those fleeing out into the hallways. One of the terrorists also used some form of incendiary device to set a massive fire believed to be responsible for a significant number of the casualties in the attack.

As of Monday, the Russian news agency Tass documented the deaths of 137 people and 182 injured. As many of the injured are in critical condition and rescuers are still looking for bodies in the part of the massive complex most devastated by the fire, authorities are warning the death toll may continue to rise in the coming days.

The Islamic State, a Sunni jihadist terrorist organization, took responsibility for the attack, using its “Amaq news agency” account on the Telegram messaging application. The Islamic State account published photos of the alleged gunmen and videos apparently taken by one of the attackers as proof of its involvement.

Islamic State/Amaq News Agency

Islamic State/Amaq News Agency releases image of alleged Sri Lanka jihadis on April 23, 2019 (Islamic State/Amaq News Agency).

The U.S. government specifically blamed the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), the Afghan wing of the international terrorist organization, for organizing the attack. Outside of confirming the Tajik nationality of one of those arrested for participating in the planning and execution of the attack, the Kremlin has refused to comment on reports that ISIS-K was responsible.

If ISIS-K was indeed responsible for the attack, the Chinese Global Times remarked, Biden is partially responsible for causing the disorder in Afghanistan that created a vacuum in which ISIS-K could thrive.

“The so-called IS-K that claimed responsibility for the recent terrorist attack on the concert hall in Russia is one of the most active international extremist organizations,” the propaganda newspaper observed. “The rise of this organization is also related to the geopolitical strategies of the US and the West. After the Biden administration came into power in 2021, it established a new strategic focus on great power competition.”

“The hasty withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan allowed the IS-K to quickly take advantage of the fluctuating regional security situation, reoccupying active space and becoming a major security threat in South Asia, Central Asia, and Russia,” it observed.

“The extremist organization represented by the so-called Islamic State (IS) is a product of the failure of Western intervention in the Middle East,” the Chinese outlet concluded.

The U.S. government under former President George W. Bush launched an invasion of Afghanistan in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda attacks intended to depose the Taliban jihadists ruling the country at the time. That war was planned to end in May 2021 under former President Donald Trump, but Biden broke the agreement with the Taliban and the then-Afghan government to extend the U.S. military presence in the country beyond that deadline, prompting the Taliban to launch a campaign of conquest that ended with the fall of the Afghan government on August 15, 2021, forcing U.S. troops to abruptly leave the country.

US President Joe Biden(C) attends the dignified transfer of the remains of a fallen service member at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware, August, 29, 2021, one of the 13 members of the US military killed in Afghanistan last week. - President Joe Biden prepared Sunday at a US military base to receive the remains of the 13 American service members killed in an attack in Kabul, a solemn ritual that comes amid fierce criticism of his handling of the Afghanistan crisis. Biden and his wife, Jill, both wearing black and with black face masks, first met far from the cameras with relatives of the dead in a special family center at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.The base, on the US East Coast about two hours from Washington, is synonymous with the painful return of service members who have fallen in combat. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden(C) attends the dignified transfer of the remains of a fallen service member at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware, on August, 29, 2021, one of the 13 members of the US military killed in Afghanistan last week (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images).

A 2023 report by the U.S. watchdog office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) found that Biden’s Afghan strategy resulted in American troops abandoning at least $7.2 billion worth of weapons and other military equipment in the country, much of it ending up in Taliban hands, in the hands of related foreign groups such as the Pakistani Taliban, and as far from Kabul as the Gaza Strip.

ISIS-K has significantly elevated its capabilities since the fall of Kabul and made a major play for power mere days after the Taliban takeover, taking responsibility for a massive suicide bombing at Kabul’s international airport that killed more than 150 people, including 13 U.S. servicemembers. An alleged Pentagon report leaked in 2023, which the Taliban dismissed as “fake,” claimed that the Taliban’s Afghanistan had become fertile ground for the Islamic State to expand its influence after the collapse of the “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria under Trump.

Members of the Taliban Badri 313 military unit arrive at the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 31, 2021, after the US has pulled all its troops out of the country to end a brutal 20-year war -- one that started and ended with the hardline Islamist in power. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Members of the Taliban Badri 313 military unit arrive at the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 31, 2021, after the US pulled all its troops out of the country to end a brutal 20-year war — one that started and ended with the hardline Islamist in power (WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images).

“ISIS has been developing a cost-effective model for external operations that relies on resources from outside Afghanistan, operatives in target countries, and extensive facilitation networks,” the alleged report read. “The model will likely enable ISIS to overcome obstacles — such as competent security services — and reduce some plot timelines, minimizing disruption opportunities.”

The Taliban, which has maintained friendly relations with Russia since its return to power, condemned the Crocus City attack in a statement through its “Foreign Ministry” on Friday.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan condemns in the strongest terms the recent terrorist attack in Moscow, Russia, claimed by Daesh [ISIS],” a Taliban spokesman said, “and considers it a blatant violation of all human standards.”

“Daesh, which has targeted civilians in Afghanistan and other regions of the world as well, again clearly demonstrated through this incident that it is a group in the hands of intelligence agencies aimed at defaming Islam and posing a threat to the entire region,” the Taliban claimed. “The regional countries must take a coordinated, clear and resolute position against such incidents directed at regional destabilization.”

Elsewhere in its coverage of the Crocus City attack, the Global Times observed unspecified online speculation “on the relationship between Washington and the event,” suggesting the Biden administration may have had a hand in it.

“Don’t forget the US has a history of using terrorist organizations to fight strategic enemies,” it warned, citing no evidence.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.


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