Mar 27Liked by Elise Labott

The attack in Moscow appears to be a relevance, recruiting and funding operation. Within the immediate neighbourhood of Afghanistan, no one outside of those countries cares one iota what happens. There's always a fanatical group willing to slaughter the innocents in the name of one thing or another.

By going to Moscow, they make an impact without arousing American anger. That's smart thinking. Their actions have exposed the security forces as being impotent despite getting a two week heads up from the Americans. The fact that the Russians chose to ignore the warnings like the Iranians makes Putin look bad. It creates a security dilemma for Russia where there's no good answer.

To compound the Russian misery, ISIS-K is not done with Russia yet. There's plenty of fertile ground in Chechnya, Ingleshetia, and Dhargestan for them to explore. At best this will be a case of schadenfreude as the West looks on to the unraveling of Russian security.

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First Iran, then Moscow; how far will ISIS-K reach in their next attack? And what can be done to stop it? Apparently over the horizon means out of reach in Afghanistan. So thank you for reminding us of that once much touted strategy, and the ways in which the tragic withdrawn from Afghanistan eliminated any possibility of the strategy having any success in the region.

But this article also made me realize the lingering benefits of the twenty years there, despite the disastrous decision to leave. The contacts the United States military likely still maintains, were almost certainly what allowed them to detect the looming attacks in Iran and Moscow – and with such specificity. I’m no expert, but to an outside observer that kind of intel seems extraordinary. So for once military intelligence was not an oxymoron. It’s just too bad there is now no way to act upon that kind of intelligence in any truly effective way in Afghanistan.

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If Ms. Harmouch is correct, that attacking the terrorists at the source won’t solve the problem, then what will? Win over hearts and minds with aid? Now that’s laughably sarcastic of course, but what? “Over the horizon” needs to kick into gear. It’s obvious the terrorists are ramping up.

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