What Is ISIS-K That Claimed Responsibility For Kabul Airport Blasts?

New Delhi: The Islamic State Khorasan Province, also known as ISIS-K, ISKP and ISK, is the official affiliate of the Islamic State movement operating in Afghanistan, as recognised by Islamic State core leadership in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS-K was officially founded in January 2015. Within its first three years, it launched attacks against minority groups, public areas and institutions, and government targets in major cities across Afghanistan and Pakistan, as per a report in ‘The Conversation.’

By 2018, it had become one of the top four deadliest terrorist organisations in the world, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace’s Global Terrorism Index.

ISIS-K was founded by former members of the Pakistani Taliban, Afghan Taliban and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Over time, though, the group has poached militants from various other groups. The group is said to have received money, advice and training from the Islamic State group’s core organisational body in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS-K’s general strategy is to establish a beachhead for the Islamic State movement to expand its so-called caliphate to Central and South Asia, the report added.

It aims to cement itself as the foremost jihadist organisation in the region, in part by seizing the legacy of jihadist groups that came before it. ISIS-K’s goal is to create chaos and uncertainty in a bid to push disillusioned fighters from other groups into their ranks, and to cast doubt on any ruling government’s ability to provide security for the population, The Conversation reported.

Relationship with Taliban

It brands the Afghan Taliban as “filthy nationalists” with ambitions only to form a government confined to the boundaries of Afghanistan. This contradicts the Islamic State movement’s goal of establishing a global caliphate.

Since its inception, ISIS-K has tried to recruit Afghan Taliban members while also targeting Taliban positions throughout the country.

Its role in the current scenario

Quoting Amira Jadoon, a terrorism expert at the US Military Academy West Point and Andrew Mines, a research fellow at the George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, ‘The Conversation reported:

It is still too early to tell how the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will benefit ISIS-K, but the attack on the Kabul airport shows the continued threat posed by the group.

In the short term, ISIS-K will likely continue its efforts to sow panic and chaos, disrupt the withdrawal process and demonstrate that the Afghan Taliban are incapable of providing security to the population.

If the group is able to reconstitute some level of territorial control in the longer term and recruit more fighters, it will most likely be poised to make a comeback and pose threats on the national, regional and international levels.

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