Ground Report | New Delhi: What is ISIS-K; 90 Afghans were killed and about 150 were injured in the attack. Last night’s bombings at Kabul airport were the deadliest for US troops in Afghanistan since 2011.
According to AFP, ISIS Khurasan suicide bombers attacked a key entrance to the airport and a hotel used by deportees. The Pentagon put the death toll at 13. Earlier, 13 Americans were reported killed, but another soldier was wounded and the number rose.
What is ISIS-K?
Isis-K – or to give it a more precise name, Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) – is a regional ally of Isis (or the so-called Islamic State) operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is the most extreme and violent of all jihadist terrorist groups in Afghanistan.
The “K” in ISIS-K stands for Khorasan, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s ally in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where US-led forces have fought Taliban and al-Qaeda militants since 2001. US officials in recent years have become concerned about the group’s growing power, vandalism and intent to attack Western targets.
It was founded in January 2015 at the height of IS’s power in Iraq and Syria, before its self-proclaimed caliphate was defeated and destroyed by a US-led coalition.
It recruits from both Afghan and Pakistani jihadists, specifically defected members of the Afghan Taliban who do not see their own organization as extreme enough.
Are they affiliated with the Taliban?
Externally yes, through a third party, Haqqani Network. There are strong links between ISIS-K and the Haqqani network, which in turn is closely linked to the Taliban. Now in charge of security in Kabul is Khalil Haqqani, with a $5m (£3.6m) bounty on his head.
Dr. Sajjan Gohel of the Asia Pacific Foundation has been monitoring terrorist networks in Afghanistan for years. “Several major attacks between 2019 and 2021 involved cooperation between ISIS-K, the Taliban’s Haqqani Network, and other terror groups based in Pakistan,” he says.
When the Taliban captured Kabul on 15 August, the group released a large number of prisoners, including IS and al-Qaeda militants, from Pul-e-Charqi prison. These people are massive now. But ISIS-K has major differences with the Taliban, accusing them of jihad and abandoning the battlefield in favor of a peace deal negotiated in “posh hotels” in Doha, Qatar.