The Troubling Ambitions of ISKP: An Examination of the Islamic State’s Global Reach and Growing Radicalism

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, considers even the Taliban to be not radical enough. ISKP propagandists criticize the Taliban for their interactions with non-Islamic diplomats and allowing aid from unbelievers.

Despite ISKP’s existence for nine years mainly targeting Afghans, its global ambitions became apparent on March 22nd when gunmen attacked a concert in Moscow, killing 139 people. The group has been blamed by American officials for the attack, with suspects from Tajikistan later being arrested by Russia. ISKP has been carrying 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. Though estimates of ISKP’s strength vary, 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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