Who is IS-K? | The masterminds behind Kabul Airport blasts

When the Taliban have been planning to rule Afghanistan, the IS-K wants to be the new Taliban.


On Thursday evening, 11 days after the Taliban captured Afghanistan’ the country was shaken by suicide bomb blasts outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport, killing over 100 people.

Sources have revealed that the Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP or IS-K) carried out the deadliest attack.

Thursday’s attack isn’t the first to be linked to the IS-K; the organization also claimed last March’s attack on a gurdwara in Kabul. In August 2019, it allegedly attacked a wedding in Kabul, which killed 63 people.


Who is the IS-K? 

The Islamic State Khorasan Province (IS-K) is the regional affiliate of the Islamic State group. It is the most radical and violent of all the militant jihadist organizations in Afghanistan.

The organization was set up in January 2015 at the height of IS’s power in Iraq and Syria, before its self-declared caliphate was defeated and demolished by a US-led alliance.

It recruits both Afghan and Pakistani jihadists, especially abandoning members of the Afghan Taliban who do not see their own organization as extreme enough.

IS-K members


At its height, the organization numbered about 3,000 warriors.

However, it has suffered significant fatalities in clashes with the US and Afghan security forces and the Taliban.

IS-K is based in the eastern province of Nangarhar. Meanwhile, most of its activities have been in Nangahar and Kabul. However, it has also claimed attacks in Kunar, Jowzjan, Paktia, Kunduz, and Herat.

IS-K connection to the Taliban

Many researchers have revealed strong links between IS-K and the Haqqani network, which is closely linked to the Taliban.

“several major attacks from 2019 and 2021 were carried out together by the IS-K and the Taliban’s Haqqani network. 

When the Taliban took over in Kabul on the 15th of August, the group released many prisoners from Pul-e-Charki jail, reportedly including IS and al-Qaeda fighters.

However, IS-K has major differences with the Taliban, blaming them of abandoning Jihad and the battleground favoring a mediated peace settlement hammered out in Doha, Qatar.

IS-K considers Taliban militants “traitors,” making their killing lawful under their version of Islamic law.

When the Taliban have been planning to rule Afghanistan, the IS-K wants to be the new Taliban.

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  • طالبان حالات نے بنائے اور آئی ایس کے بنانے میں امریکہ اسرائیل اور انڈیا تینوں شامل ہیں

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