On the opposite facet of the jihadist ledger is ISIS-Ok. The group is one among many associates that the Islamic State established after it swept into northern Iraq from Syria in 2014, and created a non secular state or caliphate the scale of Britain. An American-led marketing campaign crushed the caliphate, however greater than 10,000 ISIS fighters stay in Iraq and Syria, and ISIS associates just like the Sahel or the Sinai Peninsula are thriving.
However ISIS-Ok has by no means been a significant power in Afghanistan, a lot much less globally, analysts say. The group’s ranks have dropped to about 1,500 to 2,000 fighters, about half from its peak ranges in 2016 earlier than American airstrikes and Afghan commando raids took a toll.
Since June 2020, nonetheless, underneath an formidable new chief, Shahab al-Muhajir, the affiliate “stays energetic and harmful,” and is in search of to swell its ranks with disaffected Taliban fighters and different militants, the U.N. report concluded.
“They haven’t been a first-tier ISIS affiliate, however with the Afghan commandos gone and the American navy gone, does that give them respiratory room? It may,” mentioned Seth G. Jones, an Afghanistan specialist on the Heart for Strategic and Worldwide Research in Washington.
Even because the group’s total ranks have declined lately, Mr. Jones mentioned, ISIS-Ok has maintained cells of clandestine fighters who’ve carried out terrorist assaults.
Perceive the Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan
Who’re the Taliban? The Taliban arose in 1994 amid the turmoil that got here after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989. They used brutal public punishments, together with floggings, amputations and mass executions, to implement their guidelines. Right here’s extra on their origin story and their report as rulers.
United Nations counterterrorism officers mentioned within the June report that the Islamic State had carried out 77 assaults in Afghanistan within the first 4 months of this yr, up from 21 in the identical interval in 2020. The assaults final yr included a strike towards Kabul College in November and a rocket barrage towards the airport in Kabul a month later. ISIS-Ok is believed to have been accountable for a faculty bombing within the capital that killed 80 schoolgirls in Might.
Some analysts imagine ISIS-Ok might have hyperlinks to the Haqqani community. Certainly, Shahab al-Muhajir, the ISIS chief, is reported to have been a former midlevel Haqqani commander earlier than defecting.