From Mosul to Moscow: The Evolution of ISKP’s Global Reach and Ambitions

The Islamic State’s branch in Afghanistan is engaged in a global conflict

The Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), an offshoot of the group that established a “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria, has been operating in Afghanistan for nine years. However, ISKP considers the Taliban regime to be not radical enough due to its oppressive restrictions on female education. ISKP propagandists criticize the Taliban for their interactions with non-Islamic diplomats and allowing aid from unbelievers.

On March 22nd, gunmen attacked a concert in Moscow, killing 139 people. ISKP has been blamed by American officials for the attack, with suspects from Tajikistan later being arrested by Russia. ISKP has carried out attacks beyond Afghanistan, targeting countries like Turkey and Iran. The group has enemies like America and China and has been recruiting individuals from Central Asian countries.

Russia is a target of ISKP due to its presence in Kabul and relationship with the Taliban. The group also targets countries supplying aid to Syria, where its parent organization was dismantled by Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Despite estimates of ISKP’s strength varying, it is believed to have around 2,000 to 5,000 members. Its ability to connect with disaffected individuals is considered its strength, with its current leader being Shahab al-Muhajir, a 29-year-old of Arab descent. Despite limited information about its leader, ISKP is now under global scrutiny.

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