Weekly Analyst Review
BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT: After Islamic State Khurasan’s (ISK) devastating suicide bombing on 26 August in Kabul, with over 60 confirmed dead, including 13 United States service members, TRAC's London-based Analyst Dea Edington assesses that the Taliban’s (IEA) Afghanistan faces a security challenge on two fronts: the obvious deteriorating security situation in Kabul as Islamic State Khurasan (ISK) steps up activity; and anti-Taliban challengers in the Northern Alliance and the Andarabian Militia continuing to resist IEA rule in Baghlan and Panjshir provinces. Given the Taliban’s lack of experience in governing at a national level, these growing pains have the potential to become festering wounds.

Regarding ISK and Kabul, since the initial 26 August bombings, at least two attempted rocket attacks on Hamid Karzai International Airport have occurred (30 & 31 August, respectively), in addition to another attempted suicide bombing (27 August). The Taliban’s yet-proven special forces unit, Badri 313, has been tasked with guarding the airport and carrying out counter-terror operations in the country. As thousands continue to flock to the airport in hopes of fleeing the country, it remains to be seen whether Badri 313 will “protect and serve” or “dominate and control”.

In the provinces of Panjshir and Baghlan, the respective Northern Alliance and Andarabian Militia mount a notable challenge to the IEA’s claimed hegemony in the country. Peaceful resolution appears decreasingly likely as Taliban reinforcements continue to converge on Northern Alliance-held Panjshir province throughout the week, with all advances facing armed resistance. Further, the Andarabian Militia has launched thus far unsuccessful attacks on the Taliban and repelled all incursions into Khost district, Baghlan province. The Taliban has demonstrated its power advantage by cutting off supply lines and telecommunications to both resisting regions in efforts to crush the resisting fighters’ hope or impede their capacity for challenge. As the Taliban’s patience dwindles with the fast-approaching negotiation deadline going unanswered, Afghanistan may soon see an Alamo-like event as further conflict appears the most likely outcome.
Images (top/bottom) Poster in channel
TRAC Insight: (Far-Right Extremism/ Poster) Eco-Fascist Telegram Channel Releases Poster to Motivate Subscribers to Perpetrate Violence to Engender Anarchy
Eco-fascist Telegram channel has released a poster to motivate subscribers to engender complete anarchy through the perpetration of violence. Interestingly, this poster exemplifies the so-called 'horse shoe effect', which TRAC has observed as escalating in its monitoring of multiple online platforms, a topical convergence between left and right wing extremists in terms of their desired goals and perceived enemies. Both milieus identify a common thread, that influential Jews are the hidden-hand behind society's inequalities and the U.S. Federal government's "draconian policies." Furthermore, a shared stake in highlighting environmental degradation, anti-capitalism / anti-wealth (often tied in with the 'Jewish question'), rent strikes and attacks on infrastructure are issues and tactics that currents within, both sides are promoting. Though motivations are completely different, now the opinion of "there is no political solution" resolve the current state of affairs of the United States also becomes a topical convergence. From the extreme far right, nothing short of a race war and the rise of an entirely white ethno-state is the reason not to participate in the elections; from the extreme far left, the reorganization of wealth and removal of capitalism are the motivations.
Though the most extreme elements in both camps seek to 'accelerate' a civilization-wide collapse, a wider sense of mistrust, hatred and paranoia will prevent movement-wide collaboration.
TRAC Insight: (Far-Right Extremism) Racist Engagement/Recruitment Efforts with the Anti-Vaccination Movement Across Far-Right Communities
Although not all anti-vaxxers subscribe to extreme right ideologies, the far-right engages with the movement from a highly racist standpoint. This conclusion will be rationalized through a TRAC investigation into popular narratives on Telegram. The extreme far right is engaging in the anti-vaccination communities in an attempt to entice more into their cause, usually in a highly racist manner. Despite their unifying racial undertones, these arguments differ. Specifically, various segments of the extreme far-right have perpetuated the following narratives: (1) Black people should get the vaccine to make them suffer; (2) Black people should be vaccinated as a method of forced sterilization; (3) Black people only opt to get the vaccine so they can continue to perpetrate criminal acts; and (4) vaccinated 'simple-minded' Black people will become government-controlled robots, utilized to further the 'Zionist' agenda. Interestingly, while their worldview remains blatantly racist, a portion of the far-right has also 'celebrated' the anti-vaccination efforts of Black people. Although the following analysis does not constitute an exhaustive exploration, it becomes clear that racist far-right communities differentially engage with the anti-vaccination movement. The idea that Black people should be vaccinated to make them suffer maintains by far the greatest support across far-right communities. On Telegram, numerous channels have motivationally campaigned to vaccinate Black people. These channels often employ the hashtag '#VaxTheBlacks.' As illustrated in the TRAC analysis these channels have a tendency to share posts citing the death and pain of Black people as a reason to vaccinate them.
Images: Screen shots of various channels
Images (above): anti-COVID and anti-government rhetoric graffitied on a separate building (middle) firefighters at the scene (below) firefighters at the scene
TRAC Incident Report: Covid-19 Testing Center Destroyed in an Arson Attack, Graffitied With Anti-Vaccine Sentiment, in North St Marys, Sydney, Australia
On August 28, a COVID-19 testing clinic on Forrester Road in North St Mary's, Sydney, Australia was damaged by fire in what is being treated as a deliberate arson attack. By the time officers responded to calls around 10:50pm local time, the clinic was already "well alight," with large flames and plumes of smoke engulfing the area. Firefighters were able to extinguish the flame. Local police officers, when searching the area, discovered conspiratorial anti-COVID and anti-government sentiments scrawled on a separate building. Statements included: "COVID = lies;" "fight the government refuse control;" "people wake up now. Fight the system. Revolt;" and [referring to Premier Gladys Berejiklian] "fuck the system, fuck Gladys." Although the exact cause of the fire remains unknown, a crime scene has been established and an investigation is underway. Police currently suspect there to be one arsonist, and anticipate he or she will act again: "judging on what they've done today, they're very likely to do it again." The situation in Australia in regards to COVID-19 remains unstable as unmasked protesters continue to stage demonstrations across the country. These riots have prompted security scares, as evidenced by a protest at the Parliament in Queensland where protestors attempted an intrusion of the precinct. The attack has since been celebrated on Telegram by popular extreme right-wing channels. It is also important to note that on the same day, COVID-19 lockdown protests occurred across Australia causing the Queensland Parliament to go into lockdown as at least one protester breeched security forces in the building.
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