May 22, 2024 5:27 pm
Afghanistan’s Islamic State branch engages in global conflict

The Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) is an offshoot of the Islamic State group that is even more radical than the Taliban. ISKP primarily targets Afghans, but their global ambitions were highlighted by an attack in Moscow that killed 139 people. American officials blamed ISKP for the attack, and Russia later arrested suspects from Tajikistan.

Despite this, ISKP has been recruiting among Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Kazakhs, distributing content in Central Asian languages. Estimates of ISKP’s strength range from fewer than 2,000 to 5,000 members. The current leader, Shahab al-Muhajir, is of Arab descent and rarely heard from. Despite setbacks in Afghanistan, ISKP’s ability to connect with disaffected individuals makes them a significant threat.

No government officially recognizes the Taliban regime in Afghanistan largely due to its severe restrictions on female education. ISKP criticizes the Taliban for what they see as appeasement to the West, including meeting with non-Islamic diplomats and accepting aid from unbelievers. In its nine-year existence, ISKP has carried out attacks in Turkey and Iran, expanding its reach beyond Afghanistan.

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