The attack on a major military hospital in Kabul last Tuesday was a major blow to the Taliban, but they sought to downplay the seriousness of the attack. At least 20 people were killed in the attack.
Senior Taliban official Maulvi Hamdullah was reportedly killed in the attack. Hamdullah was the commander of the Kabul Army Corps.
If reports of his death prove true, the Taliban's revenge is certain and a new wave of violence could soon break out in the country.
This is the same hospital that was attacked in 2017 by the so-called Islamic State militant group.
Apparently, the Islamic State of Khorasan, which has been active in the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan since September 18, has launched a regular campaign to weaken the Taliban, and the Islamic State operation has reportedly killed 68 people.
The Taliban are being targeted on a large scale in these attacks, while the Shia community is also under attack. The Taliban had announced the protection of minorities, but in view of these attacks, it can be said that they have so far failed to implement them.
In recent days, the Taliban have been working hard to limit the Islamic State's presence. The Taliban are also trying to make the Islamic State less important, but the attack on a hospital in Kabul shows that the Islamic State has the ability to carry out attacks even in strongholds of the Taliban.
Following the November 2 attack, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for targeting the Taliban. The Islamic State claimed that the hospital belonged to insurgents and that the dead were not civilians but Taliban members.
The statement added that the attack took place just days after the Taliban defense minister visited the hospital.
It is clear that the Islamic State was referring to the October 27 visit of Mullah Mohammad Yaqub, the Taliban's interim defense minister, to the hospital.
Mullah Yaqub is the son of Mullah Mohammad Omar, the founder of the Taliban, and this was his first visit to the hospital through which he came out in public.
The Taliban, on the other hand, called the attack an "attack on civilians" and claimed that they (the Taliban) had suffered little.
In a statement and tweet following the November 2 attack, the Taliban said Islamic State was targeting civilians, patients and doctors.
The Taliban said the attack killed three women, a child and three Taliban members and wounded five others.
The Islamic State called the attack "deadly" and said it involved a suicide bomber, an explosive-laden vehicle and some other resources.
The militant group also claimed that the attack was successful despite the Taliban's security arrangements.
The Islamic State claimed that "dozens" of Taliban members were killed and wounded in the attack, while a senior Taliban official was also killed, whose names were not released.
The Afghan Islamic Press, a Pakistan-based news agency, has claimed, citing intelligence sources, that Maulvi Hamdullah, the head of the Taliban Special Forces, was killed in the attack.
The Taliban have not yet confirmed Hamdullah's death, but it was cited on a Taliban-linked Twitter account.
According to local media, 20 people were killed in the attack.
The Taliban are constantly trying to downplay the attack. He says his security forces foiled the attack. He also claimed that the attackers had been stopped before reaching the hospital.
The Taliban also claimed that the situation was brought under control in 15 minutes. Meanwhile, the Islamic State says its attackers fought to the end and managed to get to the hospital.
The Taliban, on the other hand, claim that their gunmen and even the Air Force were involved in the operation.
According to the Taliban, the helicopters did not have to do much work because by then the attackers had finished their work.
The Taliban have also released a video footage showing the situation as normal.
Islamic State operations
The latest attacks are aimed at weakening the Taliban government and began on September 18.
Islamic State militants also attacked Kabul airport in August, but the Taliban were not identified as the main target.
Between September 18 and November 2, the Khurasan wing of the Islamic State claimed to have carried out a total of 68 attacks. Of those, 59 were in Afghanistan and nine in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Most of the attacks (41) took place in Dzhalal-Abad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province. The Islamic State has carried out seven attacks in Kabul, six in Kunar, three in Parwan, and one each in Kunduz and Kandahar. Kandahar is considered a stronghold of the Taliban.
In most of the 53 attacks, the Taliban were directly targeted, while two Taliban members were also beheaded. Other Taliban assets, such as fuel trucks, hospitals and power installations, were also targeted.
The Islamic State claims that 86 Taliban members, including Taliban officials, were killed in the attacks.
On October 3, the Islamic State also attacked a Taliban funeral.
A few days later, on Friday, October 8 and 15, Shiite mosques were attacked, killing several people. The second attack took place in Kandahar and was the first time the Islamic State had targeted a Taliban spiritual center.
Other militant groups outside the Islamic State camp have condemned the attacks on the Taliban, as well as attacks on the Shia minority.
These groups accuse the Islamic State of playing into the hands of hostile institutions aimed at hurting the Taliban government.
After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan on August 19, the Islamic State warned that its fighters were preparing for a new phase of "jihad" in Afghanistan.
The recent attacks appear to be part of that chain.
The Islamic State is angry at the return of the Taliban to power. He accused the Taliban of colluding with the United States to drive "real jihadists" out of the country.
He also reiterated his commitment to continue operations in the country.
The Islamic State is using the positive messages from the Taliban to the international community, foreign investors and religious minorities to tarnish the religious image of its opponents.
The Taliban have also responded by taking several members of the Islamic State hostage in Nangarhar, Kabul and other provinces, while some have been killed.
On October 7, Taliban spokesman and Deputy Minister of Information and Culture Zabihullah Mujahid called the Islamic State a "headache."
He said that the roots of Islamic State are not deep and they will be wiped out soon.
He also denied claims on November 2 that former Taliban members had joined the Islamic State.
Taliban deputy spokesman Bilal Karimi told the Afghan newspaper Hasht Sobh that the Islamic State had no presence in Afghanistan.
But contrary to the Taliban's claims and its efforts against the Islamic State, the group continues to carry out small-scale attacks, killing people.
If this situation continues, the Taliban government will suffer because they want to be seen as a good administrator in front of the international community.
On the other hand, the Taliban's reputation will be affected by the locals they claim to be their protectors.