The Afghanistan conflict, which has wrecked the country for decades, for many has been a conflict between the Taliban, the US and NATO forces and the Kabul government as part of the Washington-led “war on terror”. But the reality is that Afghanistan has always been a country with representation of different factions and ethnicity, who have rejected or opposed a any legitimate system of any given government.
One of those factions is the Taliban, while opposing it are various other factions, who seek their ouster and want to gain strength, rule, power and profit.
One of such factions is the Islamic State Khorasan Province (IS-K), which showed its resistance and terror with the suicide bombing outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 26, claiming lives of at least 170 Afghans and 13 US troops.
With the Taliban, working towards forming the government, rules and management under their interpretation of the Islamic rules and politics, the IS-K will remain as the prime terror threat to them and keep them under constant check.
The Kabul bombing certainly exposed that despite Taliban claims of complete control and a secure and safe Afghanistan, they still do not have complete control and the country’s capital Kabul, along with other parts are not secure.
The IS-K, the Khorasan chapter of IS terror group, was formed in 2015. Its name Khorasan symbolically depicts part of an Islamic empire, stretching from Iran to the western Himalyas.
The group consists of militants, who are either local or are former Afghan and Pakistani Taliban along with some former Al Qaeda members. Centred in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan, IS-K’s spread spans across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
With Taliban taking control of Afghanistan, the IS-K has reportedly been recruiting members with an aim to gain attention through deadly attacks on civilian targets which include protest rallies, schools that provide education to girls, hospitals and markets.
It is pertinent to mention that Afghan Taliban had joined hands with the US and NATO forces to fight against the IS-K in the past.
The IS-K claims that the Taliban government in Afghanistan is not setting up an Islamic system as they have allowed women to work, appear on television and also go to educational institutions. While claiming the Kabul airport attack, the IS-K slammed the Taliban for not bringing in place an Islamic system.
This becomes sensitively important as Taliban are on the verge of announcing the government and have committed to form an inclusive setup. The global community is expecting Taliban to walk the talk and give representation to other ethnicities in the government formation also.
However, the threat of increased terror attacks from the IS-K, if the Taliban announce an inclusive, will become even great for the Taliban.
(Hamza Ameer reporting from Ground Zero)