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Posts Tagged ‘ISIS-K’

Making Another ISIS – The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on November 15, 2021

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/making-another-isis/

Where America goes in the Middle East, extremist groups tend to follow.(By Trent Inness/Shutterstock)

November 12, 2021|

12:01 am Bradley Devlin

With the United States out of Afghanistan, former members of the Afghan Security Forces who were once trained by the United States are joining Islamic State-Khorasan Province, better known as ISIS-K, the Islamic State’s regional affiliate. The result is all too predictable given America’s track record of inadvertently aiding the creation of extremist groups in the Middle East. 

As it stands now, the number of former members of the Afghan Security Forces joining up with ISIS-K remains small, but it is growing, according to both Taliban fighters and other former members of the Afghan Security Forces.

One former Afghan official told the Wall Street Journal that an officer who commanded the Afghan National Army’s weapons and ammunition depot in Gardez joined ISIS-K after the Afghan army became defunct, and was killed last month in a firefight with the Taliban. The official also said he knows several other members of the Afghan Security Forces who joined ISIS-K after the Taliban searched their homes and ordered them to present themselves to Taliban authorities once the Taliban took control of the country. 

The Wall Street Journal also spoke to a resident of Qarabagh in the Ghazni province who said his cousin, previously a member of the Afghan army’s special forces, disappeared in September shortly after the U.S. withdrawal and has joined an ISIS-K cell. The Qarabagh man also said he knows four other former Afghan National Army soldiers who enlisted in ISIS-K in the past few weeks.

ISIS-K became known throughout the world when a suicide bomber killed 13 U.S. service members and approximately 200 Afghans in an attack near the Kabul airport as the United States was completing its withdrawal in August. 

Created in 2014 by former Taliban militants who were dissatisfied with potential peace talks and sought to take more drastic measures to fight the United States, ISIS-K has thus far played relatively a minor role in the network of extremist organizations operating in Afghanistan. Their relegation was a result of choosing both the Taliban and the United States as their enemies, as the nascent extremist outfit was ill-equipped to defend its territorial holdings in eastern Afghanistan, which the Taliban took from them in 2015.

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about the author

Bradley Devlin is a Staff Reporter for The American Conservative. Previously, he was an Analysis Reporter for the Daily Caller, and has been published in the Daily Wire and the Daily Signal, among other publications that don’t include the word “Daily.” He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Political Economy. You can follow Bradley on Twitter @bradleydevlin.

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Report: Former Afghan Govt Forces Joining ISIS-K – News From Antiwar.com

Posted by M. C. on November 2, 2021

This is why US government trainers in Afghanistan were told “never turn your back”.

https://news.antiwar.com/2021/11/01/report-former-afghan-govt-forces-joining-isis-k/

by Dave DeCamp

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that some former members of the now-defunct US-backed Afghan government’s intelligence and military forces have joined the local ISIS affiliate, known as ISIS-K.

The Journal cited people who knew several men who joined up with ISIS-K after the US withdrawal. The report said the number of defectors who joined ISIS-K is “relatively small” but continues to grow.

The former Afghan government fighters joined ISIS-K out of fear of the Taliban hunting them down. Responding to the report, the Taliban pointed to the general amnesty they declared for former Afghan government officials.

“The Islamic Emirate announced general amnesty and no one including the former security forces should worry about their personal security,” said Taliban Interior Ministry spokesman Sayed Khosti using a formal name for the Taliban-led government.

ISIS-K is essentially the only organized force that is fighting against the Taliban, and the terrorist group has launched several attacks since the US withdrawal. The Taliban have accepted US assistance against ISIS-K in the past but are now insisting they don’t need any foreign assistance to deal with the group.

“We are not faced with a threat nor are we worried about them,” Mawlawi Zubair, a senior Taliban commander, told the Journal. “There is no need, not even a tiny need, for us to seek assistance from anyone against ISIS.”

On Monday, the Taliban said 34 ISIS-K fighters in the eastern Nangarhar province switched sides and joined the Taliban. According to Nangarhar’s provincial intelligence department, 149 ISIS-K members have switched allegiance to the Taliban so far.

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Who profits from the Kabul suicide bombing? – Asia Times

Posted by M. C. on August 30, 2021

The origin of ISIS is incandescent material. ISIS was spawned in Iraq prison camps, its core made of Iraqis, their military skills derived from ex-officers in Saddam’s army, a wild bunch fired way back in 2003 by Paul Bremmer, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

https://asiatimes.com/2021/08/who-profits-from-the-kabul-suicide-bombing/

by Pepe Escobar

The horrific Kabul suicide bombing introduces an extra vector in an already incandescent situation: It aims to prove, to Afghans and to the outside world, that the nascent Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is incapable of securing the capital.

As it stands, at least 103 people – 90 Afghans (including at least 28 Taliban) and 13 American servicemen – were killed and at least 1,300 injured, according to the Afghan Health Ministry.

Responsibility for the bombing came via a statement on the Telegram channel of Amaq Media, the official Islamic State (ISIS) news agency. This means it came from centralized ISIS command, even as the perpetrators were members of ISIS-Khorasan, or ISIS-K.

Presuming to inherit the historical and cultural weight of ancient Central Asian lands that from the time of imperial Persia stretched all the way to the western Himalayas, that spin-off defiles the name of Khorasan.    

The suicide bomber who carried out “the martyrdom operation near Kabul airport” was identified as one Abdul Rahman al-Logari. That would suggest he’s an Afghan, from nearby Logar province. And that would also suggest that the bombing may have been organized by an ISIS-Khorasan sleeper cell. Sophisticated electronic analysis of their communications would be able to prove it – tools that the Taliban don’t have. 

The way social media-savvy ISIS chose to spin the carnage deserves careful scrutiny. The statement on Amaq Media blasts the Taliban for being “in a partnership” with the US military in the evacuation of “spies.”

It mocks the “security measures imposed by the American forces and the Taliban militia in the capital Kabul,” as its “martyr” was able to reach “a distance of no less than five meters from the American forces, who were supervising the procedures.”

So it’s clear that the newly reborn Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the former occupying power are facing the same enemy. ISIS-Khorasan comprises a bunch of fanatics, termed takfiris because they define fellow Muslims – in this case the Taliban – as “apostates.”  

Founded in 2015 by emigré jihadis dispatched to southwest Pakistan, ISIS-K is a dodgy beast. Its current head is one Shahab al-Mujahir, who was a mid-level commander of the Haqqani network headquartered in North Waziristan in the Pakistani tribal areas, itself a collection of disparate mujahideen and would-be jihadis under the family umbrella.

Washington branded the Haqqani network as a terrorist organization way back in 2010, and treats several members as global terrorists, including Sirajuddin Haqqani, the head of the family after the death of the founder Jalaluddin. 

Up to now, Sirajuddin was the Taliban deputy leader for the eastern provinces – on the same level with Mullah Baradar, the head of the political office in Doha, who was actually released from Guantanamo in 2014.  

Crucially, Sirajuddin’s uncle, Khalil Haqqani, formerly in charge of the network’s foreign financing,is now in charge of Kabul security and working as a diplomat 24/7.

The previous ISIS-K leaders were snuffed out by US airstrikes in 2015 and 2016. ISIS-K started to become a real destabilizing force in 2020 when the regrouped band attacked Kabul University, a Doctor Without Borders maternity ward, the Presidential palace and the airport.

NATO intel picked up by a UN report attributes a maximum of 2,200 jihadis to ISIS-K, split into small cells. Significantly, the absolute majority are non-Afghans: Iraqis, Saudis, Kuwaitis, Pakistanis, Uzbeks, Chechens and Uighurs.

The real danger is that ISIS-K works as a sort of magnet for all manners of disgruntled former Taliban or discombobulated regional warlords with nowhere to go.    

The perfect soft target

The civilian commotion these past few days around Kabul airport was the perfect soft target for trademark ISIS carnage. 

Zabihullah Mujahid – the new Taliban minister of information in Kabul, who in that capacity talks to global media every day – is the one who actually warned NATO members about an imminent ISIS-K suicide bombing. Brussels diplomats confirmed it.  

In parallel, it’s no secret among intel circles in Eurasia that ISIS-K has become disproportionally more powerful since 2020 because of a transportation ratline from Idlib, in Syria, to eastern Afghanistan, informally known in spook talk as Daesh Airlines.

Moscow and Tehran, even at very high diplomatic levels, have squarely blamed the US-UK axis as the key facilitators. Even the BBC reported in late 2017 on hundreds of ISIS jihadis given safe passage out of Raqqa, and out of Syria, right in front of the Americans.

The Kabul bombing took place after two very significant events.

The first one was Mujahid’s claim during an American NBC News interview earlier this week that there is “no proof” Osama bin Laden was behind 9/11 – an argument that I had already hinted was coming in this podcast the previous week.

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