There is so much going on in our world right now and as much as I would like to ignore all the bad, I feel that we can no longer turn a blind eye.

Over the past few weeks, I have been watching the national news and seeing all the headlines coming out of Afghanistan just like many of you. While watching the events unfold in the Middle East I heard the names of the usual players however there was a new name that I didn’t recognize, ISIS-K. Maybe it is because I have been wrapped up in my family and not paying so much attention to world events like I used to be in the past, but I didn’t recognize this organization’s name. 

So once again I took to the internet to find out who exactly is ISIS-K, and I wasn't the only one asking this question. So here is what I found out. 

 

ISIS-K is a terrorist group that is a sworn enemy of the Taliban, who currently have control over Afghanistan. It is an offshoot of the Islamic State terrorist organization, ISIS, which is based out of Iraq and Syria. While ISIS-K is a branch of ISIS they are mainly run out of Pakistan and Afghanistan. ISIS-K is considered one of the most extreme and violent Jihadist militant groups in Afghanistan right now. The group was founded in January of 2015 when ISIS was at the peak of its power in the region. 

A few interesting things to note:

  • ISIS-K considers the Taliban to not be sufficiently devout enough in its adherence to Islam, which is one of the reasons that the two groups do not get along.
  • The “K” in ISIS K stands for Khorasan
  • U.S. Officials have been growing alarmed in the last few years as the group has been growing in strength and intent on attacking Western targets. 
  • This group mainly recruits from both Afghan and Pakistani jihadists. They are extremely willing to recruit members of the Afghan Taliban who no longer agree with the organization and its leadership. 
  • ISIS-K is based in the eastern province of Nangarhar which is close to drug and people smuggling routes in and out of Pakistan. 
Photo by Dan Kitwood - Pool/Getty Images
  • The biggest question is if ISIS-K has ties to the Taliban. This question isn’t so easy to answer. While the organization claims that they have no ties to the Taliban they do seem to have ties to the Haqqani network, which is closely linked to the Taliban. 
  • While the US may not want to be on the same side as the Taliban it does seem that leadership on both sides share a common security challenge when it comes to the ISIS-K terrorist group. 
  • ISIS-K has about 1,500 to 2,000 fighters in the organization right now. While this may not seem like a lot the group is under new leadership and they seem to be very ambitious when it comes to making a name for themselves.
  • The UN stated that in the first four months of 2021, ISIS-K conducted 77 attacks in Afghanistan alone.

Now, these are just the bullet points when it comes to ISIS-K and the things that I found the most interesting about this terror group. I’m sure we will learn more about this organization in the next coming days and weeks as the situation in the middle east evolves.

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