Afghanistan’s Islamic State branch engages in global conflict

ISKP: A Radical ISIS Offshoot and its Global Ambitions beyond Afghanistan

ISKP, a radical offshoot of the Islamic State group, is a significant threat despite its focus on Russia. The group has been recruiting among Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Kazakhs and distributing content in Central Asian languages. ISKP’s global ambitions were highlighted by an attack in Moscow that killed 139 people, which American officials blamed on the group. Despite its primary target being Afghans, ISKP has also carried out attacks in Turkey and Iran, expanding its reach beyond Afghanistan. Estimates of ISKP’s strength range from fewer than 2,000 to 5,000 members, with the current leader being Shahab al-Muhajir of Arab descent who rarely speaks publicly.

The Taliban regime in Afghanistan faces criticism from many for its severe restrictions on female education. However, ISKP is even more radical than the Taliban and sees this as appeasement to the West. The group criticizes the Taliban for meeting with non-Islamic diplomats and accepting aid from unbelievers. Despite not having official recognition from any government due to these restrictions, ISKP has been able to connect with disaffected individuals around the world and poses a significant threat to international security.

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