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Target of ISKP Terrorism in Afghanistan

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The most important concern during the withdrawal of the United States of America (USA) from Afghanistan was the possibility of the region turning into a terrorist center. For this reason, the Taliban has made a commitment that Afghanistan will not turn into a terrorist base and will continue the fight against terrorism, both during the Doha Agreement dated February 29, 2020 and during the contacts with various countries, especially China.

While a significant part of the terrorist organizations that have been in existence in Afghanistan for a long time became passive with the withdrawal of the USA; the so-called Emirate of Khorasan (ISKP) continues the attacks of the terrorist organization Devlet al-Iraq and al-Sham (DAESH). As a matter of fact, there are various allegations that DAESH militants, who received heavy blows in Iraq and Syria, are heading to Afghanistan. Therefore, the terrorist organization stuck in the Middle East is trying to make Afghanistan its new safe zone.

However, the Taliban, which is fighting against ISKP in the region, is trying to be recognized by the world, to overcome the isolation policy of the USA and to solve the problems within the country. However, political, economic and military problems and inadequacies stand out as the most important obstacles in front of the Taliban. On the other hand, various attacks of terrorist organizations such as ISKP deepen the problems in Afghanistan. In this context, the organization in question aims to turn the country into a center of chaos and to destroy the authority that the Taliban is trying to build.

As it is known, DAESH tried to establish a state in the Middle East, where it emerged. It is known that in Iraq and Syria, it has made various progress and gained important experience at this point. However, as a result of the struggle of regional and global actors against DAESH, heavy blows were dealt to the terrorist organization. In this process, the militants of the organization fleeing from Iraq and Syria turned to South Asia.

Terrorists who come to the region in question primarily carry out attacks that will weaken the authority in Afghanistan. Because ISKP is trying to increase its influence by taking advantage of the power and authority vacuum that will occur in the region. It should also be emphasized that the potential for deepening economic problems as a result of ISKP’s terrorist acts is high. Moreover, in parallel with the deepening of economic problems, the possibility of people to turn to terrorist organizations that use religious arguments as a tool will increase. The terrorist organization ISKP will also benefit from this situation.

One of the reasons for ISKP’s attacks is the continuity, deepening and expansion of the isolation policies applied to Afghanistan.  Because the activities of terrorist organizations will increase in Afghanistan, which cannot receive foreign aid. On the other hand, foreign states will approach the country in question with more concern.

At this point, the purpose of ISKP’s attacks on foreign representations is better understood. As it is known, the terrorist organization ISKP has previously attacked the embassies of Russia[1] and Pakistan[2]. Later, during the visit of a Chinese delegation to Kabul, it organized an attack on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[3] According to a report prepared by the United Nations, the terrorist organization threatened to attack the embassies of India, China and Iran in Afghanistan.[4] ISKP’s terrorist attacks on the representatives of foreign states and visiting delegations cause the thought that the Taliban did not fulfill the Doha Agreement and the promises made to various states.  This leads to increased international pressure on the Taliban.

As a result, ISKP wants to destroy the authority that is being tried to be established in Afghanistan with various attacks. Therefore, the organization aims to deepen the problems in the country. Because the ISKP, which increased its attack capacity with the decreasing authority, is likely to enter the process of statehood thanks to its experience in Iraq and Syria. Undoubtedly, this situation does not only affect Afghanistan; concerns the whole world. In this scenario, Afghanistan may even be subject to a new foreign intervention. The actors that are likely to intervene may be the International Coalition, which targets DAESH in Iraq and Syria under the leadership of the USA, or the Asian states if Russia, China and India meet on a common ground. However, it is not possible to say that the Taliban will approach this situation warmly. Because the Taliban think that states that use terrorist organizations as proxy actors and follow a policy of isolation are responsible for the deepening crisis in Afghanistan.


[1] Mohammad Yunus Yawar, “Two Russian Embassy Staff Dead, Four Others Killed in Suicide Bomb Blast in Kabul”, Reuters, https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/afghan-police-report-suicide-bomb-blast-near-russian-embassy-kabul-2022-09-05/, (Date of Accession: 09.02.2023).

[2] “Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Attack on Pakistani Embassy in Kabul”, Reuters, https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/islamic-state-claims-responsibility-attack-pakistani-embassy-kabul-2022-12-04/, (Date of Accession: 09.02.2023).

[3] “Deadly ‘Suicide’ Blast Outside Afghan Foreign Ministry in Kabul”, Aljazeera, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/1/11/explosion-outside-afghan-foreign-ministry-in-kabul, (Date of Accession: 09.02.2023).

[4] “ISIL-K Threatened to Launch Terrorist Attacks Against Embassies of India, China, and Iran in Afghanistan: UN Report”, The Economic Times, https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/isil-k-threatened-to-launch-terrorist-attacks-against-embassies-of-india-china-and-iran-in-afghanistan-un-report/articleshow/97756237.cms, (Date of Accession: 09.02.2023).

Dr. Emrah KAYA
Dr. Emrah KAYA
ANKASAM Dış Politika Uzmanı Dr. Emrah Kaya, Akdeniz Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezundur. Yüksek lisans derecesini 2014 yılında Süleyman Demirel Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nde hazırladığı “Latin Amerika'da Sol Liderlerin Yükselişi ve Uluslararası Politikaya Etkisi: Venezuela-Bolivya Örneği” başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Kaya, doktora derecesini de 2022 yılında aynı üniversitede hazırladığı "Terörle Mücadelede Müzakere Yöntemi: ETA-FARC-LTTE-PKK" başlıklı teziyle elde etmiştir. İyi derecede İngilizce bilen Kaya'nın başlıca çalışma alanları; Orta Asya, Latin Amerika, terörizm ve barış süreçleridir.