first published on December 28, 2015 by Will
As if the Afghan government didn’t have enough problems with the Taliban, who are now in control of ~30% of the country, the Islamic State in Afghanistan-Pakistan (ISAP), or Wilayat Khorasan (Khorasan State) have upped their influence in the region as well, and their numbers continue to grow.
Although ISAP is a relatively new Islamist group in Afghanistan, with numbers estimated between between 1,000 to 3,000 members, the group poses a rapidly expanding threat. ISAP has recently been broadcasting “Caliphate Radio” transmissions to terrorize the Afghan population into observing Sharia law, and promising death to anyone helping or working for government or foreign forces. The radio station also helps to recruit new members.
The newness of the group doesn’t mean that they are rookies to jihad. Many of the members are experienced, disenfranchised Taliban fighters. Additionally, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), who have been fighting against ISAF forces since the beginning, have sworn allegiance to the self-designated caliph Abu Bakr al Baghdadi as well.
The relationship between the Taliban and ISAP is one of direct competition. It was reported that ISAP fighters fought alongside the Taliban during the recent battle for Kunduz against Afghan Army forces and their Western counterparts. However, the two insurgent groups continue to battle each other over territorial control, especially in ISAP’s stronghold province of Nangahar. As we can see from the following video, ISAP has also begun actioning on the poorly-led, poorly-equipped, and undermanned Afghan National Army. 2016 will be a terrible year for the people of Afghanistan.