In December, the State Department released its annual Country Reports on Terrorism. Even though it wasn’t published until the end of 2021, the report covers only the previous calendar year. Therefore, some of the material is clearly dated, including a passage touting the supposedly “aggressive action” taken by Afghan security forces against “terrorist elements” throughout 2020. Of course, those security forces no longer exist, as the Taliban overran the entirety of Afghanistan in 2021.
Afghanistan has vacated the front pages of the global news cycle as the Taliban consolidates its hold on the country after 20 years of war. However, the crisis points in the State and the conflicts that surround it are evolving in a fast-paced and erratic manner, highlighting developing challenges from the perspective of terrorism in South Asia. From a political point of view, the Taliban, an Islamist insurgency, is now responsible for statecraft, security, and bizarrely, counterterrorism.
The steady rise of the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), the Islamic State (IS)’s Afghan affiliate in Afghanistan, around the narrative of victory of the Taliban was not entirely unexpected. Throughout the process of the Doha negotiations, which culminated with the United States (US)-Taliban exit deal (February 2020), the IS ecosystem and its online propaganda machinery continuously chided the Taliban for aligning with the US, and by association losing any upper hand in being leaders of the jihad against the enemy (the US, the West). It is interesting to note that the IS’s pushback against the Taliban’s posturing viz-a-viz the US is not exclusive or a first-time event, challenging the West.
In analyzing the media of the Islamic State (IS), it is possible to observe numerous trends and compare “provinces” by observing photographs and videos, including choice of clothing, equipment, or weapons. A region of IS media expansion in recent years is Africa, with several officially recognized and active provinces producing different types of propaganda , including both formal and informal material of varying quality. In this article, the media of the two most active African provinces will be analyzed: Islamic State in West Africa Province’s (ISWAP) Nigerian (often wrongly called “Boko Haram”) and Sahelian (“Islamic State in Greater Sahara”) branches, and Islamic State in Central African Province’s (ISCAP) Congolese and Mozambican branches.
Since the Taliban captured Kabul and installed its new government of Afghanistan in August, Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) has been carrying out numerous attacks. ISKP has targeted both the Taliban and vulnerable minorities, such as Shias (Terrorism Monitor, November 19). One of the most recent and deadliest ISKP attacks was carried out at the Daud Khan hospital in Kabul on November 2 by five inghimasi (“fighting until death”) fighters, who also killed prominent Taliban commander, Qari Hamdullah Mukhlis (Twitter.com/Valle_Riccardo, November 2). Another was the bombing of two buses, which were carrying Shia civilians in the Shia district of Dasht-e-Barchi and Kabul’s third district (Twitter.com/AfghanAnalyst, November 17).
The Islamic State conducted a deadly attack in Iraq late last night.
The shooting occurred in the Diyala province northeast of Baghdad, in the village of Al-Rashad. Twelve civilians were killed and at least 15 were injured, the Iraqi news outlet Shafaq reported. The Associated Press reported the death toll as at least 11 civilians and six injured. The IS fighters kidnapped two residents of the village earlier and then launched the attack after their ransom demand was not met, according to the outlet.
According to Russia’s top diplomat, the situation in Afghanistan following the establishment of a new balance of power cannot be described as stable
The legal fallout from Islamic State’s short but bloody existence is both complex and enduring. For those Westerners who travelled to Syria and Iraq to join the jihadist project, which ended with the fall of Baghouz in southeastern Syria in March 2019, justice has taken different forms. Many were killed by Syrian or Iraqi government forces, in air strikes carried out by their own country or that of an ally, or by armed groups supported by the West. Those men and women that survived the five years of conflict have been variously detained, tried in foreign jurisdictions, had their citizenship stripped and been left to languish in identity limbo, or been deported and tried at home.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the Islamic State (IS) militant group has thousands of fighters in northern Afghanistan, as Moscow prepares to host international talks next week on the situation in the country.
“According to our intelligence, the number of (IS) members alone in northern Afghanistan is about 2,000 people,” Putin said on October 15 during a video address to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit of ex-Soviet states.
Islamic State finance chief Sami Jassim Mohammed al-Jabouri’s head and chin are covered in black stubble as he stares squarely into the camera in a mug shot accompanying a US Rewards for Justice page offering $5 million for information leading to his arrest.