ISIL-K presence in Afghanistan

Published On: February 24, 2023Categories: Fact Check

The acting Foreign Minister of the Taliban interim government, Amir Khan Muttaqi in an interview with the RTA denied the presence of Daesh group in Afghanistan.

The claim made by Muttaqi is in contradict with the details about the Daesh activities and numbers of its fighters provided by the regional countrie and the UN as well as the Taliban’s spokesmen themselves.

Around 80 Raids Conducted Against Daesh in one Last Year

The details provided by the Taliban’s spokesmen show that around 80 raids have been conducted by the Taliban against Daesh Khurasan.

Many of these raids were conducted in Herat, Balkh and capital Kabul.

Based on figures of the Interior Ministry, more than 100 Daesh fighters have been killed and over 100 others have been arrested.

Two key Daesh members Ijaz Ameen Ahangar and Qari Fateh were also among the killed.

A United Nations report in February 2023, said that Afghanistan remains the primary source of terrorist threat for Central and South Asia, with groups such as Daesh Khurasan, Al-Qaeda and Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan enjoying greater freedom of movement in the country owing to the absence of an effective Taliban security strategy.

The report said the group seeks to undermine the relationship between the Taliban and neighbouring countries by targeting diplomatic missions in Kabul.

“It also threatened to launch terrorist attacks against Chinese, Indian and Iranian embassies in Afghanistan. Apart from high-profile attacks, ISIL-K conducts low-level attacks nearly daily, causing fear in local communities, targeting Shia minorities to undermine Taliban Pashtun authority and challenging nascent security agencies,” the report said.

The last week’s suicide blast close to Foreign Ministry at Malik Asghar Square in Kabul was the recent attack claimed by Daesh.

Prior to that, Balkh governor, Mohammad Dawood Muzamil was killed in a suicide blast inside his office. The attack was claimed by the Daesh group.

The UN report estimated the  number of Daesh fighters between 1,000 and 3,000 fighters, of whom approximately 200 were of Central Asian origin, but other Member States believed that number could be as much as 6,000.

According to the report, the core cells of the Daesh Khurasan are located primarily in the eastern Kunar, Nangarhar and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan, with a large cell active in Kabul and its environs.

Smaller groups had been detected in the northern and north-eastern Badakhshan, Faryab, Jowzjan, Kunduz, Takhar and Balkh provinces, the report reads.

Drug Trafficking is Considered as Main Income for the Group

In 1401 AH, more than 12 deadly attacks occurred in Kabul, Balkh, Badakhshan and Kunduz provinces.

More than 100 people were killed and over 270 others were wounded in these attacks.

These included the attacks on Abdul Rahim school in Daesht-e- Barchi; Khanqa (Sufi community) in Kabul; Wazir Akbar Khan mosque; Herat Gazargah mosque; Kaaj educational center; Jahadia seminary and attack in front of the Foreign Ministry.

Daesh’s Empowerment in Afghanistan

While the Foreign Ministry claims that Daesh does not exist in Afghanistan, the figures provided by the Taliban’s spokesmen and concerns voiced by the foreigners denies it.

The commander of the US Central Command, Michael Kurilla, recently told the Senate Armed Services Committee, that the Daesh Khurasan is rapidly increasing its ability.

“My commanders estimate that they can do an external operation against US or Western interests in under six months with little to know warning. In a classified session, I would talk about why I made that assessment. It is much harder for them to be able to do that against the homeland,” he said.

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