The attacks by ISIS’s Afghan affiliate on Kabul’s international airport called into question the Taliban’s ability to maintain security and keep a lid on the activities of the multiple militant groups in Afghanistan. Long at war with ISIS, the Taliban have promised to ensure that neither it nor other groups with which it maintains better relations will be allowed to use the Central Asian state for cross-border attacks in the region.
The border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is notoriously porous. Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing point in Chaman, 28 August 2021 (AFP via Getty Images)
In 2021, it’s positively tinfoil hat territory to utter the phrase “deep state”. But they’re the words that come to mind when reading about developments in Afghanistan, where the Taliban is getting comfortable back in the halls of power, Pakistan expresses jubilation at home, and Pakistani officials keep popping up over the border – in particular, Faiz Hameed, the chief of the all-powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. Hameed was in Kabul, presumed to be meeting with Taliban leaders, in the days before the new cabinet was announced, which is made up almost entirely of old-guard Talibanis.