Against the backdrop of the continued US-led Western propaganda over the past two years of a Russia weakened economically and militarily, with Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed as a global pariah, the recent rout of Ukrainian forces from the battle of Avdeevka was a big shock. Russia inflicted more than 1,000 casualties every day using massive glide bombs.

This was followed by Putin’s resounding win for another presidential term even though Washington was hoping to have him ‘eliminated’ much before.

Following his election victory, Putin appeared at Moscow's Red Square on the evening of March 18, 2024 to address his supporters. "Hand in hand, we will move forward and this will make us stronger... Long live Russia,” he asserted.

Referring to the eastern parts of Ukraine where Russia also carried out a referendum in 2022. Putin said, “As for Novorossiya, as for the Donbas, the people living there declared their desire to return to their native family. Their way back to their homeland turned out to be harder, more tragic, but nevertheless, we did it."

Russia has emerged stronger, both economically and militarily from the US-NATO war on Russia using Ukraine as the proxy. But Putin’s election win, his address and the celebrations were a slap on the psyche of the US. And that too in the run up to the US presidential elections, where every possible avenue is being explored to defeat and diminish Russia along with longer range missiles and weaponry, including the use of a million plus drones within a year; utilizing the illegally frozen money in the Central Bank of Russia; French President Emannuel Macron’s preparations to send 2,000 french troops to Ukraine; the threats by Tomoko Akane (the new president of the International Criminal Court) to charge Putin with war crimes while whitewashing the war crimes of Ukrainian forces; the US-NATO and the White Taliban( and of course terrorism.

On March 22, 2024, several terrorists wearing camouflage fatigues stormed into the Crocus Concert Hall in Krasnogorsk, about 20 km from the Kremlin and adjacent to Moscow’s ring road, and began firing indiscriminately at the people and lobbing grenades even before the start of the concert. Though the exact number of casualties is still being determined, at least 115 are reportedly killed and over 100 injured according to the last update provided by Russia’s Investigative Committee. Concurrently, Margarita Simonyan, head of the Russian state-controlled RT news outlet, has reported the death toll reaching 143.

Russian authorities have reportedly arrested 11 people in connection with the attack, including four directly involved, according to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). After the attack, the terrorists intended to cross the border of the Russian federation and Ukraine, since they allegedly had relevant contacts on the Ukrainian side. The FSB Central Operation Centre reports that the weapons used by the terrorists were prepared in advance in a cache.

The ghastly terrorist attack has led to worldwide condemnation including from the Indian PM Narenda Modi posting on X: “India stands in solidarity with the government and the people of the Russian Federation in this hour of grief." US White House spokesperson, John Kirby stated, "The images are just horrible and just hard to watch, and our thoughts obviously are going to be with the victims of this terrible, terrible shooting attack."

US National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said, “Earlier this month, the US government had information about a planned terrorist attack in Moscow -- potentially targeting large gatherings, to include concerts, and Washington shared this information with Russian authorities."

The UN Security Council (UNSC) issued a statement saying, “The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the heinous and cowardly terrorist attack at a concert hall in Krasnogorsk, Moscow Region, the Russian Federation, on 22 March 2024. The members of the Security Council underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice."

Mykhailo Podolyak, Advisor to Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zeensky said, “Let's be straight about this: Ukraine had absolutely nothing to do with these events. We have a full-scale, all-out war with the Russian regular army and with the Russian Federation as a country. And regardless of everything, everything will be decided on the battlefield."

The ISIL’s Afghanistan branch, also known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K), has claimed responsibility for the Moscow terrorist attack. But it is no secret that the US is the Godfather that spawned Al Qaeda and the Islamic State or ISIL/ISIS, as has been acknowledged by American analysts, strategists and former military and intelligence officials.

ISIS was organized, armed and trained in Turkey under American-British instructors with the involvement of CIA and MI6 before unleashing its cadres into Iraq-Syria, with Mosul in Iraq falling first to the ISIS in 2014. Former US National Security Advisor Michael Flynn publicly told the media that “The rise of Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra was the willful decision of the US.”

A brigade-sized ISIS-K force was first organized in Peshawar by Pakistan before pushing them into Afghanistan. As significant is the US pushing ISIS cadres into northern Afghanistan through Pakistan. In recent years, ISIS/ISIS-K cadres have been methodically pushed into the Central Asian Republics. The Taliban, TTP, Haqqani Network and ISIS/ISIS-K are all interconnected although the CIA would want us to believe differently.

Therefore, it needs no special intelligence to decipher that the terrorist attack on Moscow’s Crocus Concert Hall in Krasnogorsk was engineered by the CIA on directions of the administration of the POTUS Joe Biden and their neo-Nazi allies. The apparent aim could have been to jolt Putin out of the euphoria over his election win, divert Russian attention from Ukraine, also hoping Putin may send troops into Afghanistan in pursuit of ISIS-K and strain Russia-Central Asia relations. It would also serve as a warning to other countries, including India, of its terrorist outreach, which is not restricted to weasels like Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

Lt General Prakash Katoch is an Indian Army veteran. Views expressed here are the writer’s own.

Cover Photograph Al Jazeera