U.N.: ISIS Present in Every Province of Afghanistan After Only 3 Months of Taliban Rule
The United Nations special envoy for Afghanistan warned this week that the Islamic State’s local faction now had significant representation in every province of the country, three months after the Taliban jihadist group took control over the country and a week after the Taliban insisted ISIS was not a problem.
The Islamic State’s subsidiary in Afghanistan is known as the ISIS Khorasan Province (ISIS-K). Its numbers are believed to have grown significantly following the collapse of the ISIS “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria in 2017. The group grew into a significant nuisance for the Taliban during the last days of the Afghan War, as ISIS jihadists attempted to overrun Taliban territory and take over key assets like opium-cultivating poppy fields. The two groups are both, however, Sunni jihadist organizations, and the Taliban has attempted to reason with the Islamic State since coming to power.
American military officials believe that the Taliban freed thousands of ISIS prisoners as it took over former American assets following their abandonment in August, greatly increasing the Islamic State’s operational ability in the country.
United Nations Special Representative for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons offered the global institution a dire update on Wednesday regarding the situation in the country.
“With the Taliban takeover, the Afghan people now feel abandoned, forgotten, and indeed punished by circumstances that are not their fault,” Lyons lamented. “To abandon the Afghan people now would be a historic mistake—a mistake that has been made before with tragic consequences.”
Lyons appeared to give the Taliban significant credit for appearing to be open to collaboration with the United Nations and for an alleged improvement in the “overall security situation” in Afghanistan –with the Islamic State threat a glaring exception to that assessment.
“Once limited to a few provinces and Kabul, ISILKP [ISIS Khorasan] now seems to be present in nearly all provinces and increasingly active,” Lyons revealed. “The number of attacks has increased significantly, from last year to this year. In 2020 – 60, so far this year – 334 attacks attributed to ISILKP or, in fact, claimed by ISILKP.”
“The Taliban insist that they are waging a concerted campaign against ISILKP, but this campaign is worrying in that it appears to rely heavily on extra-judicial detentions and killings of suspected ISILKP members,” Lyons noted, adding that the Taliban is “making genuine efforts to present itself as a government.”