The terrorist group that calls itself the Islamic State Khorasan Province, or ISIS-K, provided one of the last searing images of the United States’ 20-year counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan when two of its suicide bombers killed thirteen U.S. troops at Kabul’s international airport, the deadliest day for U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan since 2011.
A new wave of violence has emerged since the US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan and the takeover by Taliban. After the Kabul airport attack on 26 August 2021, in which nearly 170 people died including 13 US soldiers, Jalalabad was rocked by bomb blasts on 18–19 September 2021. Islamic State of Khorasan (ISK) has claimed responsibility for these attacks. This existing threat of ISK is being harped upon by various commentators as having potential to destabilise the wider region. How serious and credible is this threat? Pakistan is asking the wider world to cooperate with the Taliban to defeat it. Should we encourage that? If yes, what may be the long-term implications of this cooperation?