Iraqi Defense Minister Juma Inad met with military commanders to discuss the security situation in the country after the Taliban rapidly took over Afghanistan, including the capital and the presidential palace.
“Because of the regional situation and the recent developments in Afghanistan as well as the noticeable significant increase in ISIS activity, I decided to convene with the military commanders,” he said following the meeting.
Defense Minister Inad gave an interview after the meeting where he highlighted the Iraqi forces’ need to “be highly prepared, disciplined and take caution.” He drew attention to the importance of the training of security and counter-terrorism forces to combat ISIS remnants in the country. “Trained sectors have fewer losses than the untrained,” he expressed.
Iraqi Security Forces and the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service conduct daily operations targeting ISIS cells in high-risk areas. However, as the US declared that it would end its combat mission in Iraq, concerns rose among many Iraqis who drew similarities to the situation in Afghanistan regarding the breakdown of the security apparatus.
Over the summer, ISIS claimed responsibility for at least 134 attacks on electricity towers. The attacks put a significant strain on Iraq’s already weakened infrastructure. The country witnessed prolonged electricity outages during a heat wave earlier in the summer where temperatures above 50 celsius were recorded.
ISIS maintains a strong presence in the Diyala, Salahaddin, and Kirkuk provinces where attacks and kidnappings are common. Residents say farmers are a common target for kidnappings. The militants are reportedly demanding steep ransom fees from the families of farmers.
Baghdad withdrew its diplomatic mission from Afghanistan after a bombing attack targeted the Iraqi embassy in Kabul in 2017. Iraqi officials recently confirmed that the government did not restore the diplomatic mission in Afghanistan since.
ISIS had claimed responsibility for the 2017 attack where a suicide bomber and three gunmen killed two Afghan embassy personnel.