This file photo taken on December 28, 2017 shows Afghan policemen keeping watch following blasts at a Shiite cultural centre in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group in Kabul.
/ AFP / SHAH MARAI
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Middle-class Afghans turned militants have assisted the expansion of Daesh (ISIS) from its stronghold in Afghanistan's restive east to Kabul, analysts say, helping to make the capital one of the deadliest places in the country. Daesh has claimed nearly 20 attacks across Kabul in 18 months, with cells including students, professors and shopkeepers evading Afghan and U.S. security forces to bring carnage to the highly fortified city. It claimed its first attack in Kabul in the summer of 2016 .While the Taliban remains by far the biggest threat to Afghanistan's security forces and government, ISIS-K has dominated headlines in recent months with attacks in Kabul, including three last month alone which killed dozens of people.Afghan and Western sources told AFP the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network, which was blamed for last year's truck bomb, was involved in at least some of the Kabul attacks claimed by Daesh.AFP reported last month that French and Algerian fighters, some arriving from Syria, had joined Daesh in northern Afghanistan where the group has established new bases.Its success in the capital aside, Daesh will struggle to turn Afghanistan into a new sectarian front, predicts Kugelman, who makes the point that most divisions in Afghanistan are ethnic rather than sectarian.
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