KABUL: Who are the IS-K? The Islamic State of Khorasan Province is a local branch of IS. They are barbaric and violent of all the other jihadist groups in Afghanistan. The IS-K came into existence back in 2015 during the struggle in Iraq and Syria. But their caliphate was defeated by a US attack. IS-K recruits young Afghans and Pakistani Jihadists, especially those from the Taliban.
They see the Taliban as not extreme, living a luxurious life and visiting hotels. IS-K history goes back to targeted attacks on security forces, Afghan politicians, religious minorities like Shia Muslims, Sikhs, US and Nato troops, and the UN.
They number around 3,000 and have clashed with the US before. IS-K have targeted girl’s school hospitals, aid organisations, and they have shot a pregnant woman and nurses as well, in what is called the most horrifying and brutal attack by IS-K.
They have direct contact with Pakistan, as they are based in the Eastern province of Nangarhar. Their relation with the Taliban is rather complicated, as they are linked with the Taliban by the Haqqani network.
Several attacks have been conducted between 2019-21 by the Taliban, IS-K, and other terror groups from Pakistan. After the Taliban take over, many prisoners were released from Pul-e-Charki jail, known for IS and Al-Qaeda militants. IS-K has connections with the Taliban, but they work as an independent terror organisation. Time will tell if IS-K gives security challenges to the Taliban or whether they work together.