Islamic State almost doubled in size after liberation from Taliban: UN

The size of the Islamic State’s Afghan faction has almost doubled, according to a new United Nations report.

ISIS-Khorasan, or ISIS-K, has been able to expand into Afghanistan in recent months after the departure of the US military in late August, which coincided with the rise to power of the Taliban, providing the terror group with a conducive environment to reconstruction.

UN member states estimated that ISIS-K had around 2,200 fighters before, but that number is ‘now approaching 4,000’, according to the UN secretary-general’s strategic report compiled late last month. . The UN Security Council was briefed on the report on Wednesday.

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“There are no recent signs that the Taliban has taken any action to limit the activities of foreign terrorist fighters in the country,” the report added. “On the contrary, member states fear that terrorist groups will enjoy greater freedom in Afghanistan than at any time in recent history.

The report cites “the Taliban’s release of several thousand people imprisoned” in Afghanistan as the main source of the additional fighters, while member states “reported only a small number of foreign terrorist fighters moving inward.” Afghanistan”.

ISIS operative Abdul Rehman al-Loghri, who was previously detained in Parwan detention center next to Bagram air base but was later released by the Taliban, detonated a suicide device at the gates from Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 26. , where the United States and its allies were evacuating Afghans at risk.

ISIS-K “aims to position itself as the main rejection force in Afghanistan and expand into neighboring countries in Central and South Asia and is seen by the Taliban as its main armed threat. Member states fear that if Afghanistan descends further into chaos, some Afghan and foreign violent extremists may switch allegiance to ISIS, the report adds.

The bomber worked alone and the detonation of the device resulted in the death of 13 American soldiers, approximately 170 Afghan civilians, and injured 45 other American soldiers, concluded a military investigation into the attack. There had been previous reports that Islamic State fighters engaged in a firefight after the blast, although the Pentagon corrected the record last week when it released the findings of its investigation.

“It was a single explosion, and there was no follow-up attack,” the brigadier said. Gen. Lance Curtis, the lead investigator, told reporters. “There was a series of cross fires at the front of service members in the field which created the illusion that there was a complex attack, but there was absolutely none. “There were no gunshot wounds. We have a universal agreement between the Armed Forces Medical Service Examiner’s Office and also the medical providers in the field.”

The United States was conducting a non-combatant evacuation operation at the time of the bombing. The State Department approved the NEO in mid-August after the Taliban overthrew the US-backed Afghan government. The US military has evacuated more than 100,000 third country nationals and Afghan allies who would be at risk under the Taliban regime.

US military commanders have claimed in interviews that Biden’s top national security and State Department advisers resisted pressure to act quickly, putting lives at risk.

Earlier this week, General Michael Erik Kurilla, the candidate for the next commander of US Central Command, warned during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Al-Qaeda and ISIS are “reconstituting “in Afghanistan.

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“One of the challenges is the threat to the homeland from Al-Qaeda and ISIS-K. They reconstitute themselves. The Taliban have not given up on al-Qaeda. ISIS, with the release of prisoners from Bagram Prison and Pul-e-Charkhi, is in the process of being reconstituted,” he said.

Both terrorist groups are expected to have the capability to launch international attacks as early as this spring.

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