the DON JONES INDEX…

 

 

 

GAINS POSTED in GREEN

LOSSES POSTED in RED

 

 

 

  9/3/21…  14,361.00 

8/27/21…  14,280.33 

6/27/13…  15,000.00

 

(THE DOW JONES INDEX:  9/10/21…35,443.86; 8/27/21…35,213.12; 6/27/13… 15,000.00)

 

 

LESSON for September 3, 2021 – NOT-SO-SPECIAL K!

 

 

Consider Al-Jazeera.  The Qatari media conglomerate has been trying to win friends and influence policymakers in the West, where the state religion, Islam, is not exactly popular.  And Qatar has made a good faith effort to distant itself from more Islamic Islamicists like the Taliban (which, having made Afghanistan all its own, has been extending kind words, deeds and “get out of jail free” cards to even more Islamic Islamicists like ISIS and Al-Qaida) by taking in, even if only temporarily, thousands of Afghan refuseniks who might arguably be considered traitors to Islam and, consequently, candidates for public behadings.

Al-Jazeera’s dispatches are, for the most part, reasonable and the company has even recruited Americans like manager Kate O’Brian, correspondent Soledad O’Brien (no relation) and, for awhile, Al Gore into its embrace.  (Gore is now suing the Jazeeris for dirty deeds, done not cheap.) The DJI steals from them gratefully and often.  But, every now and again, the mask of civilization slips and reveals the black (or now, as it seems, yellow) balaclava just underneath.  Sometimes this is sinister.  Sometimes it is merely ludicrous.

Sometimes it is both.  Consider AJ’s 18 Nov. feature, seven years ago, by one Imran Khan – a modern fellow, he even has an account on Twitter.

“A few days ago I began to see news reports quoting US ‎military and government officials talking up a group called Khorasan,” Khan wrote. “This piqued my interest. In 14 years of covering this region this was a new name for me. Then the reports began to paint them as a shadowy super group of hardcore terrorists that are experimenting with technology and new, ever more fiendish ways of attacking civilians in the US.  Then the group became the target of US airstrikes in Syria and suddenly the name was on every news outlet’s lips.” 

Except something, Khan reasoned, didna’t sound right.  “Something about the name Khorasan,” allegedly an al-Qaeda splinter group, didn’t “feel right.”

And so, he began calling old friends and buds across the Middle East, South Asia and places in-between to craft his article, which he ended up calling: “Khorasan: the Group that Isn’t” (See Attachment One) after his sources… the IS-ist blogger now in Pakistan, the former US Ambassador ‎to Syria, Robert Ford, who said he didn’t know where the term came from, and an “unquestioning US Media that has turned it into a group that should be feared.”

After eliciting reactions that “ranged from a hearty laugh to confusion”, Mr. Khan deduced that Khorasan was a term that may well have been coined by intelligence analysts to justify air strikes on ISIS (or at the time, ISIL, inasmuch as 2014 was the twilight of the Caliphate)… an ancient name, harkening back to an ancient time, “a name worthy of a James Bond villain and more than likely equally fictional.”

In actuality, Khorasan… the K in ISIS-K was real, and did exist, although even a Bond villain would regard the gang as a parcel of oafs who lacked the sort of erudition that a Goldfinger or Blofeld or Chiffre possessed, but did, and still do possess an appetite for random brutality and… unlike either Mr. Bond or his adversaries… a distinct and psychotic horror of the female gender.

The only attribute they share with Bond villains (not to mention a few existant statespersons, some in places where you might not expect their like) is a lust for world domination.

Well, hindsight is occasionally blindsight and Mister Shah was neither the first, nor will be the last to underestimate the scruffy ruffians now emerging from their caves in Narangar Province and other Afghan backwoods redoubts, and it may well be that… for all their globalist, jihadist sabre-rattlings… they may be more of a problem to the Taliban than to Americans.

Khorāsān, also spelled Khurasan, was and is, according to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, a  historical region and realm comprising a vast territory now lying in northeastern Iran, southern Turkmenistan, and northern Afghanistan. It was overrun by Genghis Khan in 1220 and again by Timur (Tamerlane) about 1383. 

It fought the Sikhs in the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839–1842) and Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878–80) after which the British were given control of Afghanistan's foreign affairs in exchange for protection against the  Russians and Persians until the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919, which led the British to give up control of Afghanistan's foreign affairs.  Afghanistan was invaded in late December 1979 by troops from the Soviet Union.  This became a quagmire for “what by the late 1980s was a disintegrating Soviet Union (the Soviets suffered some 15,000 dead and many more injured) and the U.S.S.R. withdrew its troops, collapsing itself shortly thereafter.  (See Encyclopedia Brittanica, Attachment Two)

U.S. forces invaded the country after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States by the Islamist al Qaeda group based in Afghanistan. At its peak in 2011, the United States had more than 100,000 troops there, which commitment largely declined after the killing of Osama bin Laden over the Pakistani border.

In the celebratory post-Osama period, three American Presidents gradually drew down our presence.  There were exceptions… usually occasioned by terror incidents… but American troops took a less visible role after bin Laden’s demise, with a focus on training and equipping the Afghan army.  Now and again the eagle did show its claws on occasion… on April 13, 2017, the United States dropped the most powerful conventional bomb its arsenal, the “mother of all bombs,” on an IS-KP cave complex. The strike killed an alleged 94 IS-KP militants, including four commanders. But this was an exception to the rule – the rule being “Afghanizaiton” of the war, rather like Vietnamization half a century before.

The slogan “5,000 troops for 5 years” would be a reasonable distillation of the chief military elements of this approach. That time horizon would also give peace talks a realistic chanceunlike recent proposals that fancifully imagined a power-sharing accord between the Afghan government and the Taliban by the end of 2020. 

It didn’t happen.

A curious parallel with the Vietnam endgame emerged… American and Afghan forces reported thousands upon thousands of enemy combatants killed or marched off to US and Afghan prisons, yet the insurgency persisted.

Where were all these SOBs coming from?

It took the Stars and Stripes (Attachment Nine) to answer that question.

ISIS and Taliban prisoners were routinely escaping (or being released, under the counter) from the Afghan jails, returning to combat, often recapture and re-release.  While the two big American-monitored prisons remained relatively secure (until the exodus), many of these provincial jails were no more effective than Barney Fife’s sinecure on the old Andy Griffith shows.

There was even a case of key enemy operatives sent to Gitmo, then subsequently released and returning to cause more death and destruction to the American troops.

 

Finger pointing and calls for impeachment (of Biden, of Trump, of Obama… retroactively) have arisen in the wake of the disaster, but Don Jones must consider the state of the Afghan army and, perhaps more importantly, its political leadership.

Two months prior to the fall of Kabul, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani flew to Washington to confab with President Joe as the Wall Street Journal warned that his government could be toppled within six months of America's withdrawal.  It would be six weeks, but… details…

The atmosphere leading up to his trip could hardly be more foreboding, with a stream of reports describing checkpoints, towns and U.S.-provided military equipment falling into Taliban hands.

"The combination of large amounts of territory seized, the capture of a border post with Tajikistan and all of these surrenders coming in — it's sort of like a perfect storm of successes for the Taliban" that has the makings of an "unprecedented assault," said Michael Kugelman of the Wilson Center (Axios, 6/24/21)

The notoriously corrupt Ghani secured promises, but only promises, from Biden and. as the Taliban closed in, he indeed fled the besieged country with duffle bags full of cash intended for the Afghan people, according to House Oversight Committee Republicans speaking to Fox News (8/24). "Ghani in fact had so much looted money with him when he fled Afghanistan that not all of it would fit in his helicopter and that he was forced to leave money lying on the tarmac."

Variously believed to be in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan or Oman, Ghani surfaced in the UAE where he denied looting the Afghan treasury (mostly American supplied) and declared he’d arrived like an Ida refugee with only the clothes on his back.

Afghanistan’s ambassador to Tajikistan accused Ghani of stealing $169m from state funds and called on international police to arrest him.  Ambassador Mohammad Zahir Aghbar told a news conference on Wednesday that Ghani “stole $169m from the state coffers” and called his flight “a betrayal of the state and the nation”.

"If true, this was not the dignified exit of a benevolent head of state, but that of a coward and grifter," Republican lawmakers wrote to Garland and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. "The United States must do everything in its power to seize any illicitly gained funds that were corruptly embezzled by President Ghani. If he diverted funds from their intended purposes, the U.S. should bring him to justice."

According to The Atlantic, the Afghan treasury was pocketing $14K per Afghan Troop per Year, but each of its 170,000 soldiers were paid roughly $156 per month.  As John Cale wrote in the ballad “Mercenaries”, the pay was just enough to kill for, but not enough to die for.

Things (and decisions) got worse.

The decision to turn over Bagram, the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan, to the Afghan army was part of the “retrograde” plan ordered by President Biden to get all U.S. military personnel out of the country by the end of August. 

With the Americans gone, and their President (and paymaster) saving his own skin the “retrograde” and poorly paid Afghan army (now compensated not at all) simply melted away… some attempting to join the insurgents and offering up their American weaponry as bargaining chips, others making for the nearest border.  Not only did their desertion leave the insurgents with Bagram Air Base and its vast quantity of American armaments,   the Taliban released thousands of prisoners, including members of the Islamic State-Khorasan terror group, when they overran Bagram during their lightning-fast advance through Afghanistan as well as inmates at the Pul-e-Charki jail.

On Friday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told the Washington Times that he didn’t have an exact tally of the ISIS-K prisoners freed by the Taliban.

“Clearly it’s in the thousands when you consider both prisons. Because both of them were taken over by the Taliban and emptied,” Mr. Kirby said. 

Now an inquiring mind might want to know why the Taliban would release thousands of members of a rival group.  Was it the exuberance of victory?  A Bronx Cheer to the Americans?  Or is something more sinister in the offing?

ISIS aren't the only ones capitalizing on jailbreaks. As the Taliban emptied out prisons across Afghanistan in recent weeks, they set free hundreds of al Qaeda operatives, and there is continuing evidence of close ties between the Taliban and al Qaeda affiliates. The Haqqani Network, which straddles both groups, is now highly influential in Kabul.

As former CIA counter-terrorism officer Douglas London told CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen, "Those folks are force multipliers for the Taliban, and they are likely to regroup [with] what is left of al Qaeda in Afghanistan."

More likely, conversion… not extermination… was the goal of the Taliban as they saw their dream of a whole country of their own within reach.  Better co-opt competitors and point them in another direction than have their glorious adventure descend into sectarian war.

Though ISIS-K fighters were released during the Taliban's final, rapid push for control of the country, the Taliban also made a point to execute ISIS-K's former leader in the process. After the Taliban marched into the capital, Abu Omar Khorasani — the former head of the Islamic State's Afghanistan affiliate — was taken from Pul-e-Charkhi by Taliban militants and promptly killed alongside eight other ISIS-K members, the Wall Street Journal reported.

He proved replaceable.  Within the past month, Osama’s former bodyguard… the go-between between Al Qaeda and the Taliban… has returned to Afghanistan, ready to foment more mischief, purportedly by interjecting Al Qaeda into the fight between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.  (See Attachment Three)  His sordid history, amazingly, has not prevented him from serving as a back, back-channel intermediary between the Taliban and Americans!

The Taliban are, depending on who you believe, the sworn enemies or hidden figures behind ISIS-K, (which is further designated by the location of the splinter group of the splinter group.)  The armed group ISIS-KP was formed in 2014 by breakaway fighters of the Pakistan Taliban and fighters from Afghanistan who pledged allegiance to the late ISIL leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

ISKP has strong roots in northeastern Afghanistan but set up sleeper cells in Kabul and other provinces.

In a 2014 interview with Al Jazeera, Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, a fellow at the Middle East Forum, said the ISKP is “not actually a separate group”, but rather a contingent of al-Qaeda members coming from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.

According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Pakistani national Hafiz Saeed Khan was chosen to spearhead IS-K province as its first emir in 2014.  Khan, a veteran Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander, brought along other prominent TTP members—including the group’s spokesman Sheikh Maqbool and many district chiefs—when he initially pledged allegiance to al-Baghdadi in October 2014. Many of these individuals were included in the first Khorasan Shura or leadership council.

“IS-K’s early membership included a contingent of Pakistani militants who emerged in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province around 2010, just across the border from the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan.5 Many of these militants were estranged members of TTP and Lashkar-e Islam, who had fled Pakistan to escape pressure from security forces.6 The appointment of Khan as IS-K’s first emir, and former Taliban commander Abdul Rauf Khadim as his deputy, further facilitated the group’s growth, utilizing long established recruitment networks in Afghanistan and Pakistan.7 According to the Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point, as of 2017, some members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the Haqqani Network, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) had also defected to IS-K.8

“IS-K has received support from the Islamic State’s core leadership in Iraq and Syria since its founding in 2015. As the Islamic State loses territory, it has increasingly turned to Afghanistan as a base for its global caliphate.9

(See Attachment Four for further notes and details.)

ISIS-K initially drew its fighters from disenfranchised Taliban soldiers in Pakistan.

It's understood many Taliban fighters defected to ISIS-K after being unhappy with their leadership's lack of success on the battlefield at the time while looking at Isil victories in Syria with envy, according to the Sun UK.

The rival BBC’s Frank Gardner, on the other hand, dates the genesis of ISIS-K to January, 2015.

ISIS-K - or to give it its more accurate name, Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) - is the regional affiliate of Isis (or so-called Islamic State) that is active in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Most analyists consider it the most extreme and violent of all the jihadist militant groups in Afghanistan.

It was set up in January 2015 at the height of IS' power in Iraq and Syria, before its self-declared caliphate was defeated and dismantled by a US-led coalition.

ABC News, after the airport blast, followed the party line of the dominant theory that ISIS-K is the "mortal adversary" of the Taliban, Colin Clarke, a counterterrorism analyst with security consulting firm Soufan Group, told ABC News.

"It really tracked quite closely with the evolution of al-Qaida and developed a similar kind of decentralized model really in response to U.S. counterterrorism pressure," he said.

The group has an estimated 1,500 to 2,200 fighters, consisting of Arabs, Middle Easterners, Pakistanis and other South Asians, Clarke said.

He described them as a "transnational group" as opposed to the Taliban, which is predominantly comprised of Pashtuns, according to the Council of Foreign Relations.

Many ISIS-Keesters revere the late Iraqi terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a mythical, almost romantic (if certainly psychopathic figure) who was reported killed, resurrected and killed again numerous times.

In June 2017, Russian officials said that Baghdadi had likely been killed in a Russian airstrike on Raqqa, Syria. However, U.S. military officials later announced that they believed Baghdadi was still alive.

They were right.

Finally, in 2019, the devil himself was cornered in a tunnel with family members, chased by dogs and deserted by supporters… he took the jihadist way out, blowing himself up.  (See Attachment Five)

Baghdadi is dead and in body bags (the larger pieces of him) but his grisly legacy lived on.  While it is not clear how many fighters have joined the group, ISKP has been responsible for some of the worst attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent years, killing people at mosques, public squares and even hospitals.

August 8, 2016: IS-KP conducted a suicide bombing at a civil hospital in Quetta, Pakistan. The attack took place after a number of lawyers and journalists had gathered at the hospital to mourn the death of the president of the Balochistan Bar Association in a separate shooting incident earlier that day. Although the attack is attributed to IS-KP, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JA) also claimed responsibility (93 killed, 120 wounded).

March 8, 2017: IS-KP militants dressed as doctors stormed the largest military hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan. The militants, armed with guns and grenades, opened fire on staff and patients after detonating explosives at the hospital gate. After several hours of fighting, Afghan commandos killed all four IS-KP attackers (49 killed, 90 wounded).

April 22, 2018: An IS-KP militant attacked a voter registration center in Kabul, Afghanistan using a suicide bomb. The casualties were all identified as civilian, most of whom had been waiting to apply for state-issued IDs in order to register to vote in the upcoming elections (57 killed, 119 injured).  (You can bet that the Eyes of Texas took notice of this one.)

A bloody attack on a maternity ward in Kabul in May 2020 killing 24 people, including women and infants, was blamed on the group.

Citations and first three timeline atrocities from CISAC Stanford, not to be confused with CSIS, which conducted a study of the Salafist variant of the terrorist network.  The Washington Post (See Attachment Six) delineated the aims, motives and tactics of the Salafists… an ISIS-K role model… with that of the Hanafists… largely influencing the Taliban.

(See the CISAC report on Salafism and an essay on Hanafism by the United States Institute of Peace as attachments Seven and Eight.)

Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations, told ABC News that the group stands against the Taliban and al-Qaida as well as the U.S.

"Their objective is to wantonly attack the U.S. because they see the U.S. as their main enemy," he said. "Also, I think it's designed to embarrass the Taliban as well. ISIS attempted to move in and establish a base in Afghanistan to compete with the Taliban. Their ideologies are pretty much the same. It's more of a power struggle than an ideological or religious one."

Elizabeth Neumann, an ABC contributor and former U.S. Homeland Security official, described the group as much more violent than the Taliban.

"When I think of ISIS, I think extremely brutal. It's not that the Taliban has a good record of not being brutal, but it's a slightly different type of brutality," Neumann said. "[The Taliban] sounds as if they're trying to stand up a government and run a country."

 

SCHISM…

 

ISKP has been critical of any cooperation between the Taliban and the United States, including the deals struck in order to withdraw foreign troops.

Rasha al-Aqeedi, head of the nonstate actors programme of think-tank Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, said ISKP will be using the attacks as propaganda.

“The end-game of ISKP, or ISIL in general wherever it operates, doesn’t have to be an immediate strategic goal. They carry out these operations with the intention of causing as much carnage as possible for the purpose of showing that they are still around, that they are still a threat,” al-Aqeedi said.

A fundamental tenet for world acceptance and recognition… at least part of it… is the establishment of a somewhat coherent system of law and order.  In that part of the world, it means Islamic Sharia – although the intensity and extremism of that cruel practice varies not only from state to state, but faction to faction.

The Taliban recognizes only a single school of Sunni jurisprudence, the tradition named for the eighth century scholar Imam Abu Hanifa, as legitimate. Hanafism is probably the single most widely followed school of legal thought in contemporary Islam, dominant not only in South and South Central Asia but also much of Eurasia, the Balkans, Egypt, and Turkey (where it formed the official legal doctrine of the Ottoman Empire).

While Hanafi legal sources are certainly replete with highly conservative, rigid, and austere interpretations of religion, one can also find in them plenty of evidence supporting more flexible and pluralistic approaches to Islamic law—meaning that the Taliban may wish to consider whether their insistence on Hanafism could backfire at some point. For example, Hanafi law is full of precedents that establish rather expansive rights for minority communities… Western infidels, of course, but also Islamic Sufis, Sikhs and Hindus and Hazara (below), even Iranian Shiites, for whom ISIS-K’s Salifist jurists prescribe only beheadings.

ISIS-K and the Taliban, therefore, have a bitter relationship with the former believing the Taliban's version of Sharia law - a form of Islamic laws and traditions - is too soft.

The Salifist variant is particularly misogynistic.  ISIS-K has been blamed for some of the worst atrocities in recent years, targeting girls' schools, hospitals and even a maternity ward where they reportedly shot dead pregnant women and nurses.

(They would find fast friends amidst the Texas legislature, so long as each referred to a nebulous higher power without mention of Mohammed or Christ.)

On May 8, ISIS-K attacked a school for girls in Kabul and killed at least 68 people, wounding more than than 165, most of them girls, according to a Defense Intelligence Agency assessment cited by the inspector general. A suicide bomber drove a car laden with explosives into the school's gate, and, as the children fled, additional bombs exploded. 

The school was for the Hazara, a Shiite Muslim ethnic minority targeted by the Sunni ISIS-K. In May 2020, ISIS-K attacked a Hazara maternity clinic, killing 24 mothers, newborns and a health care provider.

Before the withdrawal of U.S. troops, negotiated by former President Donald Trump and accelerated by Biden, U.S. military commanders sought to annihilate ISIS-K. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, former head of U.S. Central Command, declared that ISIS-K terrorists were "not reconcilable." In 2017, the Pentagon unleashed the largest conventional bomb in the U.S. arsenal, the Massive Ordnance Air Blast, also known as the Mother of All Bombs, on an ISIS-K stronghold. The explosion killed an estimated 96 fighters.

Evidence of the group's fanaticism, according to intelligence gathered two years ago, showed that ISIS-K fighters stranded in mountain passes survived on a small supply of pine nuts, the intelligence official said. They preferred starving to profiting from the lucrative trade in opium, he said.

Unlike the Taliban, whose interest is confined to Afghanistan, ISIS-K are part of the global IS network that seeks to carry out attacks on western, international and humanitarian targets wherever they can reach them.

According to a West Point report, an ISIS-K cell planned an attack with Syrian allies against U.S. and NATO military bases in Germany. The plot was thwarted by German police in April 2020, but it highlights the counterterrorism challenges posed by the group in the future.

Why, lesser scholars and civilians ask, can’t these jihadis just get along and turn their fire jointly against the United States? The deep reason is ideological. The Taliban’s founder, Mullah Omar, styled himself “Emir of the believers,” a term equivalent in Islam’s classical period to caliph. Certain rules apply to caliphs, and foremost among them is that there can be only one at a time. Others include the requirement that the caliph be physically whole and descended from the tribe of the Prophet Muhammad. Like most of the original generation of the Taliban, Omar was partially dismembered (missing an eye, in his case), and descended not from an Arab tribe but from a Pashtun clan. Oh, and another requirement of the caliph is that he must be alive. Omar died in 2013, but the Taliban pulled a Weekend at Bernie’s and lied about it for two years. The Islamic State, noting these deficiencies, named its own caliph in 2014 when it took control of parts of Syria and Iraq, and relentlessly mocked the Taliban for being apostate hillbillies out of compliance with even the most basic elements of Islam.

The U.S. intervened to help the Taliban, under the theory that at least the hillbillies were interested only in Afghanistan, whereas the Islamic State would blow up every statehouse and disco on Earth if it had the chance.

The Taliban and ISIS-K are sworn enemies and have been fighting for years, according to “The Insider”. “ISIS-K views the Taliban as apostates, and not devout enough in terms of its approach to Islam.” The group's leaders denounced the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan, The New York Times reported. Along these lines, ISIS-K “has an interest in conducting attacks that would induce chaos, embarrass the Taliban, and make it harder for the militant group to tighten its grip over Afghanistan.”

One might apply an old paradigm from America’s wild, wild west wherein the two principle classes of migrants were settlers who wanted to build farms, homes, families and, eventually cities on the unspoiled (except by a few native tribes) wilderness and roving soldiers of fortune (many of whom were fleeing Confederate troops) who lusted after gold (and the occasional pilfered cow).  Eventually, this broadened into an urban/rural, safety/freedom divide that remains to this day – even if the farms grew into small towns, some of these into cities and suburbs and modern amenities (and or blights).

The hostility between the two groups arose both from ideological differences and competition for resources. IS accused the Taliban of drawing its legitimacy from a narrow ethnic and nationalistic base, rather than a universal Islamic creed and soliciting accommodations with the outside world from the luxury of their decadent hotel suits in Qatar, the UAE and here and there around the Mideast.

 

According to USIP in CISAC (Attachment Seven) IS-KP, by the end of June 2015, had captured or contested much of the Taliban’s territory in Nangarhar and was in control of eight of the 22 districts. IS-KP subsequently attempted to expand and consolidate its control through a variety of cruel tactics, including summary justice, forced displacement, and executions of clerics and elders.  

“Despite both forcible and diplomatic attempts by the Taliban to convince IS to leave Afghanistan, local and top-level leadership insisted that the Taliban disband itself and pledge allegiance to the IS caliphate. In response to these failed negotiations, the Taliban issued a fatwa and gathered new support from local tribal elders and political elites in order to launch a defensive campaign against IS-KP in late June 2015. In less than two weeks, the Taliban seized most of IS-KP’s territory in the southwestern districts of Nangarhar. However, its campaign was largely unsuccessful in the southeastern districts of Nangarhar. On July 3, 2015, the Taliban took IS-KP by surprise and successfully ousted the militants from Mamand. However, this victory was short lived.

“On July 16, the eve of the Muslim holiday, Eid-ul-Fitr, IS-KP militants returned and retook Mamand. After killing a dozen Taliban soldiers and detaining 80 locals, IS-KP slaughtered an additional ten tribal elders accused of supporting the Taliban.  This execution, during which the men were blindfolded and then blown up in a field of explosives, brought IS-KP international attention when IS-KP released the gruesome footage from the attack in a propaganda video.

“As IS-KP grew more violent, villagers not aligned with IS-KP fled their homes for safer locations, such as Jalalabad or Taliban-controlled areas in western Nangarhar. Once the original residents had been displaced, IS-KP confiscated abandoned property and allowed IS-KP affiliated militants from Kunduz and Helmand to resettle the area.”

 

SECRETS and SPIES and (PERIPHERAL) GO-BETWEENS…

 

Frank Gardner’s analysis for the BBC states that there is a “peripheral” back-channel communication between the feuding fighters… the Haqqani network… citing “researchers” who contend that “there are strong links between ISIS-K and the Haqqani network, which in turn is closely linked to the Taliban.”  (See Attachment Sixteen)

The Haqqani are a “family group… both by birth and in the Godfatherish sense of the term… their man in Kabul is now Khalil Haqqani, security boss of all bosses, “who has had a $5m (£3.6m) bounty on his head,” Gardner adds.

There are implications that Haqqani influence ensured that, when the Taliban took over Kabul on 15 August, the group released large numbers of prisoners from Pul-e-Charki jail, reportedly including IS and al-Qaeda militants. These people are now at large.  According to the Financial Times, ISIS-K links to the Taliban via Haqqani vary among the various (and themselves contentious) factions of the T-boys.

It is not surprising that the Haqqanis have links to both ISIS-K and the Taliban as the group “are not aligned to any ideology, they are an organised crime group”, said an Indian official, who closely tracks Afghanistan. “The active members of ISIS-K are all sophisticated fighters who are erstwhile Haqqani network fighters,” the official said.

The Haqqani “family” also has several high-profile positions among the Taliban leadership. A UN report said that "contacts between al Qaeda and the Haqqani Network -- including the Taliban's deputy leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani -- remain particularly close. They share long-standing personal relationships, intermarriage, a shared history of struggle and sympathetic ideologies."

Still and all, ISIS-K has major differences with the Taliban, accusing them of abandoning Jihad and the battlefield in favour of a negotiated peace settlement hammered out in "posh hotels" in Doha, Qatar.

IS militants now represent a major security challenge for the incoming Taliban government, something the Taliban leadership shares in common with western intelligence agencies.

And then there are the problems… and opportunities… for “interaction” with their new geographical neighbors.  To wit…

 

RUSSIA:           

Mad Vlad Putin, of course, applauded the humiliation and disaster heaped upon America by the repetition of Russia’s own Afghan disaster.  (Vlad, himself, sat out the war pushing paper as a KGB factotum in Dresden, East Germany, filing reports and dossiers and occasionally cultivating his own spies among a population already prone to spying and snitching out one another, labors for which he was royally promoted.)

When the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, the government they left behind collapsed promptly, and over the next decade, various bickering factions reduced the entire country to rubble. The prospect of Taliban rule, or even Islamic State rule, is bad enough. Even worse is the promise that Afghanistan’s many factions, some armed and supported from overseas, others with long and vengeful memories, will resume contesting one another’s dominance by blowing up innocent people.  Thus, the Russkis will probably move slowly before committing their own to a diplomatic, let alone military, presence in Kabul.

See, also, Attachment Two.

 

THE FORMER SOVIET “-STANS”…

Less reticent for historical reasons than Moscow, the breakaway republics will abet or attack the new kids on the block according to their own interests, and to the whims of whatever partisans hold political and/or economic power moment to moment.

The Taliban also has attracted a significant cadre from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, from a neighboring country; fighters from Iran’s only Sunni Muslim majority province; and members of the Turkistan Islamic Party.  On the other hand, thousands of Afghan army deserters… scorned and hunted by the new regime… have escaped over the border and will be seeking refuge, while some on the ISIStic fringe of the T-party will demand that they be handed back over to keep their appointments with sword and rope.

Undoubtedly, financial considerations will arise.

 

INDIA and PAKISTAN

Al Qaeda tendencies, both within the Taliban and ISIS are hot and hasty to throw all that nation building and diplomatic relationshipping into the crapper and inject themselves into the Indo-Pakistani cold war in Kashmir that, at times, has threatened to become a hot… really hot… conflict between two nuclear states.

One would think the new Afghan rulers would express gratitude to their neighbor to the east for the logistical support over the years, as well as the hospitality… even if ultimately inhospitable… to the martyred Osama.

However, IS-K’s hostility towards Pakistan, indiscriminate takfiri violence, and willingness to exploit local grievances has mounted considerable aversion to the Islamic State in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Its expansion sparked violent conflict and rivalry between IS-K and some of the region’s existing militant organizations, most notably the Afghan Taliban.

But there is also “circumstantial evidence” that ISKP has some kind of relationship with military intelligence services in Pakistan, Antonio Giustozzi, an expert and author at the Royal United Services Institute in London. told the Guardian UK (8/26/21).

 

CHINA and the UIGHURS

 

“At one level, what is happening in Afghanistan might be considered a win for China because it suggests that the U.S. has a lot of weaknesses,” Eswar Prasad, a professor of trade policy at Cornell University in New York, told CNBC (8/25).

There’s legitimate concern in Beijing about what a resurgence of the Taliban and other extremist groups might mean for China’s domestic stability as “it’s hard to imagine this won’t spill over the border in some fashion or the other,” he said.  Marketwatch (Above, 8/26) contends that Taliban-allied Turkistan Islamic Party includes “Uighurs from China’s northeast” (more accurately, northwest) and CNN reports that China is also anxious about Uighur jihadis using eastern Afghanistan as a launching pad for attacks inside the restive Muslim province of Xinjiang.

“In recent months, according to intelligence sources and former Afghan officials, Uighurs belonging to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) have been in evidence in the province of Badakhshan, which shares a mountainous border with China.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar last month that ETIM was an "international terrorist organization," and said the Taliban should "completely sever all ties" with the group.

China's pre-eminent concern is that Afghanistan will become a base for such groups. So far, the Taliban have largely provided "rhetorical assurances" about Uighurs who might try to use Afghan territory to plot against Beijing.

There are two possible scenarios with extreme possibilities, said Victor Gao, vice president of the Center for China and Globalization.

One is that the Taliban embraces reform and peace, and the other is that the Taliban reverts to its old ways — to what it was 20 years ago, Gao told CNBC Tuesday.

“That will constitute a lot of threat to the people in Afghanistan, but also to neighboring countries and regions like China’s Xinjiang region, for example, (a region rife with oppressed and angry Uighurs - DJI) and put many people in harm’s way.”

Prasad added: “So I think Beijing is likely to gloat in the short run — but who knows, it could have some problems on its hands in the long run.” 

 

IRAN

Although the ancient Khorasan included both Iran and Afghanistan, the legendary Shii-Sunni Islamic schism… occasioned, one may recall, by the brutal wars of succession following the death of Muhammed… (See NPR, Attachment Thirteen)… is another of those Taliban-ISIS, pragmatism v. purity sticking points.  While there is no indication that ISIS plans any attacks on the nation to its west, U.S. experts

Despite the loss of territory and continuous military assaults by the U.S. government and its Afghan allies, IS-KP has increased the scale and number of suicide bombings in Kabul, specifically on Shiite neighborhoods. Think tanks like the Afghan Analysts Network, which, on May 23, 2017 contended that a series of military setbacks would not deter the extremists – rather, their estimate was that “IS-KP will continue to recruit militants, disseminate propaganda, and launch attacks on urban centers when possible.”

Which they did… but not in Iran.  (See Attachment Eight)

 

SAUDI ARABIA and the GULF STATES

Neither faction – not ISIS, not the Taliban – are going to mess with the money.  They may be grinding teeth over the sanctuary given disloyal citizens (in Qatar) or the corrupt former President (in the UAE) but the Gulf was mother (literally) to Osama Bin Laden and his money, and there is plenty of evidence that the flow of cash still continues (though it may have tightened somewhat).

Similarly to Al-Qaeda, IS-KP identifies with Jihadi-Salafism, a distinct ideological movement in Sunni Islam. The group’s ideology is predicated on an extremist interpretation of Islamic scripture and anti-Shiite sectarian views  (CNN 4/19/15) and draws on an especially strict brand of Salafism in particular, called Wahhabism… a bloodthirsty child of the Saudi dunes and deserts.  (BBC, 30 Apr. 2018)  The Islamic State adheres to “the Prophetic methodology”, a term it has coined in its press, billboards and propaganda, meaning that the group follows the prophecy and example of Muhammad (United States Institute of Peace: Special Report 39516 Nov) meaning that its “grand strategic aim” is to rule all historically Muslim lands in a caliphate that ultimately defeats the West.

Some, neither as numerous or generous as of two decades ago, but some have opened their hearts and their purses to the Afghans.

 

NOW, AS TO THAT MONEY…

 

"[ISIS-K] has received support from the Islamic State's core leadership in Iraq and Syria since its founding in 2015," per a 2018 report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) cited by The Insider. As the Islamic State lost territory, it "increasingly turned to Afghanistan as a base for its global caliphate," CSIS said.

"Despite territorial, leadership, manpower and financial losses during 2020" ISIS-K "continues to pose a threat to both the country and the wider region," according to a UN report from June.  Lawfare, a think tank associated with the Brookings Inst. cites the damage done to mineral and smuggling revenues during the long, long war: “ISIS-K (now) primarily raises funds through local donations, taxation, extortion, and some financial support from ISIS-core.

The obvious drawback that the Afghan Goodfellas had, reduced to breaking the legs of goats and taxing the rocks with which civilians built their homes, only magnifies the incompetenece of the Afghan military which now, by its collapse, has suddenly enriched the Taliban (including its ISIS and Al Qaeda components) by a factor of… hundreds?  Thousands?  Prior to their conquest, some insurgents carried on clandestine side gigs taxing Sharia’s forbidden fascinations like cigarettes… few, however, were so bold or stupid as to smuggle alcohol.  They also received and transmitted remittances from relatives in decadent foreign lands, utilizing a banking system called the “hawala”… against which “Lawfare” contributor Alex Zerden recommended a co-operative and collaborative jihad by the Taliban and the West to raise an army of bankers to attack ISIS finances.  (See ATTACHMENT TEN from “Lawfare”, below)

Might work, might not.

 

THE BIG “O!”

One of IS-KP’s most unpopular policies has been its ban on poppy cultivation, which was an extremely important source of income for many families in Nangarhar. (Additionally, rumors also began to circulate that local families would be forced to provide IS-KP militants with brides, without dowry payments or consideration for tribe and family lineage. Ultimately, the threats IS-KP posed to the physical, economic, and social wellbeing of the citizens of Nangarhar incited public support for the return of the Taliban as noted in USIP, above.

The arcgis website, nominally tech related and apolitical contends that America is actually supporting the opium trade, both for the profit of certain interested parties (the Sacklers, the Barzinis) and as a bargaining chip with the now-defunct Ghani regime and friends of the friends at home.  NATO forces allegedly work to keep the Taliban from destroying opium crops, resulting in high opium crop production. 

“The United States invaded Afghanistan largely to restore the heroin industry and it is now making about $1.5 trillion every year from this business” (Press TV,  2017).

“The heroin business is not “filling the coffers of the Taliban” as claimed by US government and the international community: quite the opposite! The proceeds of this illegal trade are the source of wealth formation, largely reaped by powerful business/criminal interests within the Western countries. …Decision-making in the US State Department, the CIA and the Pentagon is instrumental in supporting this highly profitable multibillion dollar trade, third in commodity value after oil and the arms trade” (Chossudovsky, 2005).

See more as Attachment Eleven.  One wonders whether, as a condition of perks and bennies from the West, the Taliban (if not ISIS) will open the pipelines again.

 

ISIS-K’s general strategy, meanwhile, is to establish a beachhead for the Islamic State movement to expand its so-called caliphate to Central and South Asia.

It aims to cement itself as the foremost jihadist organization in the region, in part by seizing the legacy of jihadist groups that came before it. This is evident in the group’s messaging, which appeals to veteran jihadist fighters as well as younger populations in urban areas.

Like the group’s namesake in Iraq and Syria, ISIS-K leverages the expertise of its personnel and operational alliances with other groups to carry out devastating attacks. These attacks target minorities like Afghanistan’s Hazara and Sikh populations, as well as journalistsaid workers, security personnel and government infrastructure.

ISIS-K’s goal is to create chaos and uncertainty in a bid to push disillusioned fighters from other groups into their ranks, and to cast doubt on any ruling government’s ability to provide security for the population.

“How much do the Taliban actually control? There is a lot of terrain in Afghanistan that IS could take advantage of. In the immediate future they may be going for terrorist attacks to get into the news,” reported Aaron Zelin, a senior fellow at the Washington institute for Near East Policy (Guardian UK).

 

Through willpower, patience and cunning, a low-budget band of holy warriors has vanquished America and taken charge of a medium-sized country. To Muslims who yearn to expel infidels and overthrow secular states, it was evidence that God approves. The ripple effects could be felt far and wide. The chief risk is not that terrorists will use Afghanistan as a base from which to strike the West, as they did on September 11th 2001. Such attacks are harder now, since rich countries have better security. The danger is in poorer, weaker states, where jihadists aspire not merely to kill but also to wield power, or at least prevent the government from doing so. In places like Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Nigeria, Mali, Somalia and Mozambique, they already control territory.

The dangerous territory was outside the Abbey Gate, on the Abbey Road – a decidedly unpeaceable and unlovely veritable canal of sewage and, after the attack blood and pieces of human flesh, American and Afghan.

Steve Nikoui, the father of 20-year-old Kareem Nikoui, of California, told the Daily Beast on Friday that both the president and Pentagon officials deserve some blame for what took place in Kabul. Thirteen U.S. service members were killed and nearly 20 others were wounded in what was the deadliest day for Americans in Afghanistan in over a decade.

“They sent my son over there as a paper pusher and then had the Taliban outside providing security,” Mr. Nikoui reportedly said. “I blame my own military leaders … Biden turned his back on him. That’s it.”

American retaliation, at least, was swift and loudly celebrated.  A Reaper drone, launched from the Middle East, struck two high-ranking militants in their car, killing them both, an official told Reuters news agency.

Capt Bill Urban of Central Command said: "The unmanned airstrike occurred in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan. Initial indications are that we killed the target. We know of no civilian casualties."

He described it as an "over-the-horizon counterterrorism operation".

But the horizon was rapidly filling up with storm clouds, prompting President Biden… love it or don’t… to hurry up the evacuations before another terrorist could strike,

“The crowds, planes and infrastructure at the airport provide an obvious venue for the kind of mass-casualty attack that IS has become known for,” said Charlie Winter, a senior research fellow at London University’s International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR).

Winter said the situation was also a “perfect meeting of diverse targets” in Afghanistan: the US military, Afghans who have helped the western effort and are therefore seen as collaborators, and the Taliban, which ISKP sees as “apostates”. (Guardian UK 8/26)

         

One can imagine a scenario (such as that envisioned by the USIP) whereby forward momentum depends on agreeing that any new constitution should indeed enshrine Hanafi jurisprudence as the country’s principle source of legislation (per Taliban requirements) while also incorporating language guaranteeing full and equal rights for all citizens including women and minorities (per the government).

One could also dream of winning the lottery.

 

"(Afghanistan) is a petri dish of threats: ISIS, al Qaeda and the Taliban. They all have us in their crosshairs," asserts Daniel Hoffman, a former chief of CIA covert Middle East operations (Reuters, See Attachment Fourteen).

Biden has said the United States will closely monitor militant groups in Afghanistan and has the ability to track and neutralize rising threats.

But he wrongly said last week that al Qaeda was "gone" from the country, confusing U.S. officials.

 

One can imagine a scenario whereby forward momentum depends on agreeing that any new constitution should indeed enshrine Hanafi jurisprudence as the country’s principle source of legislation (per Taliban requirements) while also incorporating language guaranteeing full and equal rights for all citizens including women and minorities (per the government).

Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, even said Wednesday that it’s “possible” the United States will seek to coordinate with the Taliban on counterterrorism strikes in Afghanistan against Islamic State militants or others. (AP, Attachment Fifteen)

That’ll be fun.

 

 “The war is over,” President Joe proclaimed as the last American aircraft took off from Kabul.  But he, like Imran Shah is ludicrously, tragically wrong.  Sooner or later, an Afghan-based, ISIS-K following terrorist with a suicide vest or a truck full of explosives will strike, somewhere in America.

And then the Unknown Soldier will be known again; the Afghanistan war will be on again.

 

 

 

AUGUST 27 – SEPTEMBER 2

 

 

Friday, August 27, 2021

 

Infected: 38,707,475

Dead:  636,720

Dow:  35,484.51

 

 

The toll in yesterday’s attack on the Abbey Gate in Kabul rises to 13 Americans and unknown Afghans (eventually over 170).  RFK killer Sirhan Sirhan seeks parole – bad timing!

   Plague deaths highest in 6 months.  Full-up hospitals are storing patients in morgues, except in Florida, where the morgues are also full.  Occasional miracle recovery cheers the public.  Paul Stanley of KISS gets it.

   Back to 2020 as Illinois mandates masks indoors; Oregon mandate for indoors and outdoors masking.  FDA war on second hand smoke and vaping further angers freedom fighters.

   Apple CEO Tim Cook gifts himself with a $750M bonus… just because he can.

 

 

 

Saturday, August 28, 2021

 

Infected:  3,757,006

Dead:  637,244

 

           

Evacuations back on track as Taliban, suddenly mindful of PR (see above) patrol outside Kabul airport for ISIS-K bombers.  American drone strike kills 2 I-K leaders in Narangahar province as JB SecPress Psaki contends that the “retrograde process” (evacuations until Monday deadline/red line) will be most dangerous... Joe himself predicts another airport attack in 24 - 36 hours. 

   Hurricane Ida takes aim at New Orleans one year after Laura and 16 years to the day since Katrina.  Weathermen believe it will be worse than Katrina.  “Face the Nation” cites a “trifecta of tragedies” that are both “grim and dire”.  (Who didn’t make the cut… the wildfires?)

   New child plague cases rise to over 300/day, but only half the schools require masks and the five state ban mandates are being sued by Feds.

 

 

 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Infected:  38,796,746                 Dead:  637,541

                

 

 

Ida makes landfall as Cat. 4 (Katrina, who killed 1800, was only a Cat. 3).  “These weather events are unpredictable,” says the mayor of Baton Rouge.

   Second drone strike blows up truck full of explosives outside Kabul airport trying to realize Biden’s threat.  Retired veterans run own “pineapple express” infiltrations and extrations against orders.  Americans cheer, bureaucrats back down.  With Qatar full up, Afghan refugees are being sent to Albania and Philadelphia.  Thirteen dead Americans arrive at Dover AFB – President Joe attends and makes a solemn speech.

 

 

 

 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Infected:  39,057,318

Dead:  638,711                            Dow:    35,399.84

               

 

Devastation in Louisiana after Ida dumps 20” of rain.  The good news: New Orleans’ post-Katrina rebuilt levees hold.  The bad: power grids don’t, engineers say some communities will be in the dark for weeks.  Hospitals on generators, sickest patients being evacuated to other states.  Trapped people are being rescued… as after Laura… by the “Cajun Navy”.  A frightened flood victim points and says: “there are alligators!” in the water, in the streets.

   Last flights are leaving Kabul ahead of Taliban deadline – Gen. Frank McKenzie declares: “The war is over.”  ISIS, however, continues to rain rockets on the airport, to no effect since Taliban has begun chasing abandoned evacuees away.  An ABC poll finds 84% of Americans think we should stay in Kabul until the last Americans and 71% say all Afghan supporters are evacuated.  69% say Joe Biden is bad and politicians like Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ak) renew calls for impeachment.

 

 

 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Infected: 39,198,228                    Dead:  640.108

Dow:  35,360.73

 

 

Maj. Gen Chris Donohue becomes the last American soldier to leave Afghanistan as Gen. McKenzie admits “we did not get everybody out.”  President Joe said to hoping to use diplomacy (and bribes?) to get the Taliban to help evacuate remaining Americans and maybe some dissident Afghans.  Leftover U.S. military hardware is humongous – tanks, planes, Humvees, guns – but spokesmen say these have been “rendered inoperable”.  All the loot taken from runaway Afghan army is, however, operable.  Two Gold Star fathers accuse Biden of looking at his watch while their dead sons were being offloaded at Dover.

   National Guard from nine states deployed to Louisiana as a weakened (but still rainy) Ida collapses a Mississippi bridge, killing two.  The new menace is that, with power out, gas is running out, drivers wait in long lines… burning gas until they stall and further clog lines. 

   Police officials say that more cops have died from Covid than from criminals this year.  EU removes US from “safe travel” list of countries whose residents can enter.  Scary new plague variant emerges in South Africa.

 

 

 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Infected: 39,396,239

Dead:  642,081

Dow:  35,405.50

 

 

Ida aftermath… streets of rubble, walkers left in road by seniors escaping or swept away by floodwaters, 105° heat – no gas, no food, no (drinkable) water, no lights, no life (for hospital patients on ventilators).  Good Samaritans and FEMA moving in.  Saints moving out.  200,000 in shelters pose Super Spreader risk.  Those lucky enough to find gas for generators at risk of dying of carbon monoxide poisoning.

   Pres. Joe calls the evacuation a “big success”.  Gen. Mark Millay says the failure “will be analyzed for years to come.”

   Chinese government rations videogaming for kids to three hours per week.  “No game can be allowed to destroy a generation,” the big bosses declare.  (If anything can overthrow Zhi, this will!)

  

 

 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

 Infected:  39,549,299

 Dead:  643,669

 Dow:  35,443.86

  

 

 

Dying Ida’s gravesite remnants swirl North, hook up with West-to-East front and drop a dozen inches of rain, tornadoes on Northeast.  70 deaths recorded.  NYC subways flooded.  Fish swim the streets of Passaic, NJ.

   SCOTUS greenlights Texas abortion ban (a de facto overturning of Roe v. Wade) and Lone Star politicians double down by allowing anybody to carry guns anywhere.

   Taliban holds wild (for Islamist-ists) parties – shooting off fireworks and parading in captured US Army vehicles while food runs out and civilians starve.

   Job openings (10.1M) top unemployed (8.7M) with liberals blaming the revitalized plague and lack of childcare while conservatives blame lazy American (non)workers.  Return of telecommuting drives city restaurants, dry cleaners and such out of business.

   Moderna seeks FDA approval for its booster shots.  New “mu” variant from Colombia joins yet-unnamed South African plague variant as successors to Delta, as plague-induced Asian chip shortage forces GM to go on two weeks’ hiatus.  Podcaster Joe Rogan gets it.

 

 

 

 

 

A stellar jobs report (which, upon examination, is perhaps less stellar than it seems) pumped the Don up by nearly a hundred points.  As usual, the economic statistics outperformed the rather dismal current events… a disastrous end to a disastrous war, hurricans and flooding from the gulf to gotham, the persistence of western wildfires and, of course, the plague.  On the other hand, football season is near and this weekend will honor the Labor Day holiday.

 

 

 

 

THE DON JONES INDEX

 

CHART of CATEGORIES w/VALUE ADDED to EQUAL BASELINE of 15,000

 

(REFLECTING… approximately… DOW JONES INDEX of June 27, 2013)

 

See a further explanation of categories here

 

ECONOMIC INDICES (60%)

 

 

DON JONES’ PERSONAL ECONOMIC INDEX

 

(45% of TOTAL INDEX POINTS)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CATEGORY

VALUE

BASE

RESULTS

SCORE

SCORE

OUR SOURCES and COMENTS

INCOME

24%

6/17/13

LAST

CHANGE

NEXT

 8/27/21

 8/27/21

SOURCE 

Wages (hourly, per capita)

9%

1350 points

 8/27/21

   +0.58%

 9/10/21

1,462.32

1,462.32

https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/wages  25.83 nc

Median Income (yearly)

4%

600

 8/27/21

  +0.03%

 9/10/21

672.35

673.47

http://www.usdebtclock.org/   35,591 601 611 622

*Unempl. (BLS – in millions

4%

600

 8/27/21

   -3.85%

 9/10/21

371.34

386.04

http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000/ 5.4% 5.2%

*Official (DC – in millions)

2%

300

 8/27/21

   -9.49%

 9/10/21

412.18

451.28

http://www.usdebtclock.org/      9,476.7 476 475 8.654

*Unofficl. (DC – in millions)

2%

300

 8/27/21

   -5.97%

 9/10/21

353.49

374.61

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    16,391 402 414 15,467

Workforce Participtn.

     Number  

     Percent

2%

300

8/27/21

 

 +0.021%

 +0.05%

 9/10/21

 

317.91

 

318.07

In 151,806 839  871  2,861 Out 100,235 232 229 106 Total: 252,967

 

http://www.usdebtclock.org/ 60.44

WP %  (ycharts)*

1%

150

 8/27/21

  +0.16%

 9/10/21

152.48

152.48

https://ycharts.com/indicators/labor_force_participation_rate  61.70 nc

OUTGO

(15%)

Total Inflation

7%

1050

 8/27/21

+0.5%

 9/10/21

980.21

980.21

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.5

Food

2%

300

 8/27/21

+0.7%

 9/10/21

276.14

276.14

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.7

Gasoline

2%

300

 8/27/21

+2.4%

 9/10/21

262.35

262.35

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +2.4

Medical Costs

2%

300

 8/27/21

+0.3%

 9/10/21

286.20

286.20

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.3

Shelter

2%

300

 8/27/21

+0.4%

 9/10/21

288.77

288.77

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.4

WEALTH

(6%)

 

Dow Jones Index

2%

300

 8/27/21

 +0.65%

 9/10/21

382.34

384.83

https://www.wsj.com/market-data/quotes/index/DJIA 35,213.12 443.86

Home (Sales) 

   (Valuation)

1%

1%

150

150

 5/21/21

 +2.22%

  -0.94%

 9/10/21

174.07

181.13             

174.07

181.13             

https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics

     Sales (M):  5.86 5.99  Valuations (K):  363.3 359.9

Debt (Personal)

2%

300

 8/27/21

 +0.16%

 9/10/21

271.62

271.17

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    64,706 836 886 993

 

AMERICAN ECONOMIC INDEX (15% of TOTAL INDEX POINTS) 

NATIONAL

(10%)

 

Revenue (trilns.)

2%

300

 8/27/21

+0.235%

 9/10/21

328.04          

328.81       

debtclock.org/       3,645 827 836 845

Expenditures (tr.)

2%

300

 8/27/21

+0.12%

 9/10/21

215.92

215.66

debtclock.org/       6,836 931 939 947

National Debt tr.)

3%

450

 8/27/21

+0.09%

 9/10/21

320.80

320.50

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    28,633 660 687 714

Aggregate Debt (tr.)

3%

450

 8/27/21

+0.10%

 9/10/21

368.64

368.27

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    85,598 685 772 859

GLOBAL

(5%)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foreign Debt (tr.)

2%

300

 8/27/21

 +1.65%

 9/10/21

291.94           

290.43           

http://www.usdebtclock.org/   7,104 107 110 229

Exports (in billions)

1%

150

 8/27/21

 +2.46%

 9/10/21

 184.48

 189.01

https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/index.html  207.7 nc 212.8

Imports (bl.)

1%

150

 8/27/21

 - 0.18%

 9/10/21

 116.57

 116.36

https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/index.html  283.4 282.9

Trade Deficit (bl.)

1%

150

 8/27/21

 +9.55%

 9/10/21

   91.37            

 100.06            

https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/index.html   75.7 69.1

 

SOCIAL INDICES (40%) 

 

ACTS of MAN

(12%)

 

World Affairs

3%

450

8/27/21

    -0.2%

 9/10/21

383.65

382.88

EU removes USA from “safe travel” list due to Delta resurgence.  China rations kids’ videogaming to 3 hrs. week.

Terrorism

2%

300

8/27/21

    -0.2%

 9/10/21

220.96

220.52

Taliban celebrate with fireworks – next, running a country?  Food running out and Afghans beg evil West for charity.

Politics

3%

450

8/27/21

    -0.4%

 9/10/21

437.73      

435.98      

Marchers march on Washington on 58th anniversary of the original to protest voting rights cutbacks.  There’ll be a lot more marching over Tx Roe v. Wade throatslash.  Texas follows up abortion ban by allowing anybody to carry guns anywhere and do anything (will it be legal to shoot your own fetus?).

Economics

3%

450

8/27/21

    -0.6%

 9/10/21

409.97

407.51

Ida sends gas prices soaring.  Asian plague provokes semiconductor chip shortage, meaning no PlayStations this Christmas!  Chinese ration plan sends game company Ten Cent stock down ten percent.  Social Security (2033) and Medicare (2026) running out due to plague.  Politico sold to Germany’s Axel Springer, Apple acquires classical music streamers Primephonics.

Crime

1%

150

8/27/21

     -0.4%

 9/10/21

241.87

240.90

Three Colorado cops and two paramedics accused of chocking Elijah McClain to death because he looked “suspicious” (ie black).  Capitol cop who shot protester Ashlii Barrett proclaims himself a hero.  Gangstas target kids – Wisconsin teen (by car), Pennsylvania 7 year old (by gun).  Yet another school shooting in NC – 1 killed, suspect arrested.  Bad speller gets a year for using a counterfeit “Madernavaxxcard.

 

ACTS of GOD

 

(6%)

 

Environment/Weather

3%

450

 8/27/21

      -0.3%

 9/10/21

403.27

402.06

87° Gulf waters facilitated Ida.  Smoky Caldor fire exceeds air quality limits by 5000% at Lake Tahoe where humans flee and bears move in.  As Ida waves bye, Hurrican Larry takes aim at same Northeast area.

Natural/Unnatural Disaster

3%

450

 8/27/21

     -0.1%

 9/10/21

401.55

401.15

1500 murder hornets located and exterminated in Washington (State).  Ida-induced water main breaks induce thirst and inhibit firefighting amidst deluge.  NJ lifeguard killed by lightning strike. 

 

LIFESTYLE/JUSTICE INDEX   (15%)

 

Science, Tech, Education

4%

600

 8/27/21

+0.2%

 9/10/21

679.34

680.70

Bioprinters are cloning rare cancers to develop cures (or bioweapons?).  Japanese-made human-imitated robots becoming more and more lifelike (and, uh… desirable?).

Equality (econ/social)

4%

600

 8/27/21

     -0.3 %

 9/10/21

559.31

557.63

“Time’s Up” CEO outed as Cuomo pal, resigns in disgrace.  Fired, self-appointed Jeopardy host Mike Richards fired from desk job for saying bad words to women.  Florida bans salaries for school mask-refusenik refuseniks.

Health

     

          

            Plague

4%

600

 8/27/21

 -0.3%

 

    

 

 

 -0.1%

 

 9/10/21

495.73

 

 

 

 

- 102.92

494.24

 

 

 

 

- 103.02

Ford F-150s recalled for seatbelt defects (tho’ real men who drive F-150s don’t need no sissy seatbelts).  J&J’s vax fails test (for HIV, not Covid).  JAMA says too much or too little sleep causes Alzheimers.  Doctors say drinking coffee will weaken the bones.

 

American spies rassle over whether plague accidentally escaped from Chinese lab or weaponized virus deliberately released.  Failed monoclonal antibody treatment resuscitated to fight ΔV.  New “mu” variant from Colombia and unGreeked S. African version will be next plagues to plague Americans.  CDC orders refuseniks not to travel on Labor Day.  Refuseniks will probably refuse.

Freedom and Justice

3%

450

 8/27/21

  -0.1%

 9/10/21

460.03

459.57

DoorDash and GrubHub sued for ripping off plague victims.  RFK families split over Sirhan parole… younger ones for, older ones agin’.  Same family split with cult killer Chad Daybell, former professional gravedigger busted because his graves were sloppy. Accused Theranos fraudster Elizabeth Holmes going on trial, will blame abusive boyfriend. 

 

MISCELLANEOUS and TRANSIENT INDEX           (7%)

 

Cultural incidents

3%

450

 8/27/21

+0.2

 9/10/21

 526.27

 527.75

Dancing Queens of ABBA coming out of retirement.  Patriots cut Cam Newton over Covid chaos.  Ohio State QB Quinn Ewers gets 1M+ merch deal… and he’s the backup.  Thrillers like “Candyman” waft big BO as family films tank.  Tom Cruise double whammy: Top Gun 2 and MI 7 both held back (but Bond film may finally be moving forward).  RIP Ed (“Lou Grant”) Asner.

Miscellaneous incidents

4%

450

 8/27/21

+0.1

 9/10/21

 484.52

 485.00

Gavin Weir throws four no-hitters for S. Dakota in LLWS (somebody sign that kid up to hapless Baltimore).  Killers kill California cougar that attacked five year old.  Bronx police remove cougar from apartment and send it to Arkansas.  Post-Ida street gator kills, eats Hammond, LA man.  ΔV spikes return of toilet paper panic.  Dinosaur skeleton up for sale for 1.4M. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Don Jones Index for the week of August 27th through September 2, 2021 was UP 80.67 points.

 

The Don Jones Index is sponsored by the Coalition for a New Consensus: retired Congressman and Independent Presidential candidate Jack “Catfish” Parnell, Chairman; Brian Doohan, Administrator.  The CNC denies, emphatically, allegations that the organization, as well as any of its officers (including former Congressman Parnell, environmentalist/America-Firster Austin Tillerman and cosmetics CEO Rayna Finch) and references to Parnell’s works, “Entropy and Renaissance” and “The Coming Kill-Off” are fictitious or, at best, mere pawns in the web-serial “Black Helicopters” – and promise swift, effective legal action against parties promulgating this and/or other such slanders.

Comments, complaints, donations (especially SUPERPAC donations) always welcome at feedme@generisis.com or: speak@donjonesindex.com

 

ATTACHMENT ONE – From al-Jazeera

 

KHORASAN: THE GROUP THAT ISN’T

Something about the name Khorasan, which the US says is a group of al-Qaeda veterans, doesn’t feel right.

 

By Imran Khan, 18 Nov 2014

A few days ago I began to see news reports quoting US ‎military and government officials talking up a group called Khorasan. This piqued my interest. In 14 years of covering this region this was a new name for me. Then the reports began to paint them as a shadowy super group of hardcore terrorists that are experimenting with technology and new, ever more fiendish ways of attacking civilians in the US.  Then the group became the target of US airstrikes in Syria and suddenly the name was on every news outlet’s lips. 

Except something, to me, wasn’t right.

I began to make some calls to contacts across the Middle East and South Asia. To say I drew a blank would be an understatement. Reactions ranged from a hearty laugh to confusion. The name was new. 

In Pakistan I spoke to Ahmed, not his real name, and asked him who the group was. Ahmed is an occasional blogger and activist who openly supports ISIL. He is a veteran of Jihad in Afghanistan and resides in Rawalpindi, surrounded by pamphlets urging Muslims to rise up against the West. “Khorasan? I don’t know that name. I don’t know who they are.” 

In the US, I spoke to analysts and here in Baghdad watched pundits on TV who are seemingly convinced of the group’s danger to the US. Attorney General Eric Holder told US news outlets after the US airstrikes on Syria, that they  had known about the group for 2 years saying:  “We hit them last night  out of a concern that they ‎were getting close to an execution date of some of the plans that we have seen.” On the phone I spoke to Robert Ford, the former US Ambassador ‎to Syria who told me: “We used the term inside the government, we don’t know where it came from. It certainly didn’t originate inside the State Department. All I know is that they don’t call themselves that.” 

Khorasan is almost certainly a term that the US government has coined. It’s suitably exotic. Geographically, it’s a historical region in the north east of Iran and includes Afghanistan and what is now Pakistan. This tallies with what I’ve been ‎told by my sources, and who the Americans claim, make up the group: a hardcore of former al-Qeada fighters who come from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. 

Khorasan doesn’t have a flag, it doesn’t have a media operation, or a brand name which people recognise. In short, it doesn’t have the things that ISIL and other groups ‎have, that turn them into a rallying call for others. 

My guess, and this comes from talking to people across the spectrum, is that Khorasan is a term that may well have been coined by intelligence analysts that has been picked up by politicians and then an unquestioning US Media that has turned it into a group that should be feared. It’s classic self-fulfilling prophecy theory. Call something a problem and eventually it will become a problem. 

What it clearly isn’t is a name that Jihadists know or use. To that end, why would the US government put the name out there? Clearly, it’s a short-hand that they see as being media friendly, and it pushes the idea that there are groups out there that operate in a shadowy manner and use ancient names to hark back to an ancient time. 

Khorasan: A name worthy of a James Bond villain and more than likely equally fictional.

 

Oops! - DJI

ATTACHMENT TWO – From Encyclopedia Brittanica

HISTORICAL

Khorāsān, also spelled Khurasan, was and is, according to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, a  historical region and realm comprising a vast territory now lying in northeastern Iran, southern Turkmenistan, and northern Afghanistan. The historical region extended, along the north, from the Amu Darya (Oxus River) westward to the Caspian Sea and, along the south, from the fringes of the central Iranian deserts eastward to the mountains of central Afghanistan. Arab geographers even spoke of its extending to the boundaries of India.”

The history of the area stretches back to very ancient times. It was part of the Achaemenian Empire of the 6th to 4th century BCE and the Parthian empire, which spanned from the 3rd century BCE to the 3rd century CE. (Khorāsān is sometimes loosely identified synonymously with Parthia.) Khorāsān was first named, however, by the Sasanians (beginning in the 3rd century CE), who organized their empire into four quarters (named from the cardinal points), Khorāsān being literally the “Land of the Sun.” After the Arab conquest in 651–652 CE, the name was retained both as the designation of a definite province and in a looser sense. At first the Arabs used the area as a march, or garrisoned frontier, but soon large colonies of Arabs moved in, especially around Merv, and a meld of Islamic and eastern Iranian cultures ensued. Later Khorāsān regained virtual independence under the TahiridSaffarid, and Samanid dynasties (821–999). Successively it formed part of the GhaznavidSeljuq, and Khwārezm-Shāh kingdoms but was overrun by Genghis Khan in 1220 and again by Timur (Tamerlane) about 1383. The Iranian Safavid kings (1502–1736) fought over it against Uzbek invasions. It was occupied by the Afghans from 1722 to 1730. Nāder Shāh, born in Khorāsān, broke the Afghan supremacy and made Mashhad the capital of his Iranian empire. Ferdowsī, author of the Shāh-nāmeh (“Book of Kings”), and Omar Khayyam, the celebrated poet and sage, were born in the region. Khorāsān’s current Iranian frontiers were defined in 1881 and in a convention of July 8, 1893. This gave form to the modern Iranian province of Khorāsān, which was split into three smaller provinces in 2004.

After the decline of the Durrani dynasty in 1823, Dost Mohammad Khan established the Barakzai dynasty. Dost Mohammad achieved prominence among his brothers through clever use of the support of his mother's Qizilbash tribesmen and his own youthful apprenticeship under his brother, Fateh Khan. However, in the same year, the Afghans lost their former stronghold of Peshawar to the Sikh Khalsa Army of Ranjit Singh at the Battle of Nowshera. The Afghan forces in the battle were supported by Azim Khan, half-brother of Dost Mohammad.[citation needed]

In 1834 Dost Mohammad defeated an invasion by the former ruler, Shuja Shah Durrani, but his absence from Kabul gave the Sikhs the opportunity to expand westward. Ranjit Singh's forces moved from Peshawar into territory ruled directly by Kabul. In 1836 Dost Mohammad's forces, under the command of his son Akbar Khan, defeated the Sikhs at the Battle of Jamrud, a post fifteen kilometres west of Peshawar. This was a pyrrhic victory and they failed to fully dislodge the Sikhs from Jamrud. The Afghan leader did not follow up this triumph by retaking Peshawar, however, but instead contacted Lord Auckland, the new British governor-general in British India, for help in dealing with the Sikhs. The letter marked the beginning of British influence in Afghanistan, and the subsequent Anglo-Russian struggle known as the Great Game.[citation needed]

THE GREAT GAME

The First Anglo-Afghan War (1839–1842) led to the British force taking and occupying Kabul. After this, due to strategic errors by Elphinstone, the British force was annihilated by Afghan forces under the command Akbar Khan somewhere at the Kabul-Jalalabad Road, near the city of Jalalabad.[3] After this defeat, the British-Indian forces returned to Afghanistan on a special mission to rescue their prisoners of war (POWs) and afterward withdrew until coming back in order to commence the Second Anglo-Afghan War.

The Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878–80) first led to a British defeat at Maiwand followed by their victory at the Battle of Kandahar, which led to Abdur Rahman Khan becoming the new emir and the start of friendly British-Afghan relations. The British were given control of Afghanistan's foreign affairs in exchange for protection against the Russians and Persians. The Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919 led the British to give up control of Afghanistan's foreign affairs finally in 1921.[4]

The Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919[1] granted relinquishment from protected state status.[2] The treaty granted a complete neutral relation between Afghanistan and Britain. Afghanistan had become a British protectorate after the Treaty of Gandamak was signed (1879) in the Second Anglo-Afghan War.

WAR WITH RUSSIA

Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, invasion of Afghanistan in late December 1979 by troops from the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union intervened in support of the Afghan communist government in its conflict with anti-communist Muslim guerrillas during the Afghan War (1978–92) and remained in Afghanistan until mid-February 1989.

In April 1978 Afghanistan’s centrist government, headed by Pres. Mohammad Daud Khan, was overthrown by left-wing military officers led by Nur Mohammad Taraki. Power was thereafter shared by two Marxist-Leninist political groups, the People’s (Khalq) Party and the Banner (Parcham) Party—which had earlier emerged from a single organization, the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan—and had reunited in an uneasy coalition shortly before the coup. The new government, which had little popular support, forged close ties with the Soviet Union, launched ruthless purges of all domestic opposition, and began extensive land and social reforms that were bitterly resented by the devoutly Muslim and largely anti-communist population.

The war in Afghanistan became a quagmire for what by the late 1980s was a disintegrating Soviet Union. (The Soviets suffered some 15,000 dead and many more injured.) Despite having failed to implement a sympathetic regime in Afghanistan, in 1988 the Soviet Union signed an accord with the United States, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and agreed to withdraw its troops. The Soviet withdrawal was completed on February 15, 1989, and Afghanistan returned to nonaligned status.

 

ATTACHMENT THREEFrom India Today

 

MAN BEHIND TALIBAN-AL QAEDA NEXUS: OSAMA'S FORMER BODYGUARD RETURNS TO AFGHANISTAN, OUT OF HIDING AFTER A DECADE

 

Believed to be the bodyguard of former Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, who was killed by US forces in Pakistan's Abbottabad in 2011, Amin-Ul-Haq has reportedly returned to Afghanistan. Haq is considered to be a link between Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Amin-Ul-Haq, who coordinated security for Osama bin Laden, according to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), and is now said to be a key figure for the Taliban, had been in hiding for a decade. He had not been under public glare since his release from a Pakistani jail in 2011 where he spent three years.

Haq has reportedly returned to Afghanistan. A video, purportedly of Haq reaching his hometown in the Nangrahar province of Afghanistan, has gone viral, indicating that Al Qaeda might have a free run under Taliban rule.

As Osama's security chief, he was in-charge of the 'Black Guards', a group that worked as his personal bodyguards.

Currently being a link between al-Qaeda and the Taliban, Amin-Ul-Haq is also said to be working behind the scenes as part of negotiations with the US on behalf of the Taliban for the release of Taliban prisoners.

Haq was arrested in 2008 in Pakistan but managed to get released in 2011. It is not clear whether he had been living in Pakistan or travelling between the neighbouring Nangrahar province in Afghanistan through the porous border.

Some reports have suggested that he was taken into custody in an operation led by Pakistan Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

ALSO READ | Al Qaeda congratulates Taliban, says Kashmir should also be ‘liberated from enemies of Islam’

Born in 1960 in Afghanistan's Nangrahar, Haq was a doctor by profession. He also worked as a doctor in Pakistan in his younger days.

Nangrahar is also the place where ISIS-Khorasan Province or Islamic State-KP functions from.

Khorasan is a large historical region, mainly comprising areas lying in northeastern Iran, northern Afghanistan and southern Turkmenistan.

It is believed that Haq played a pivotal role in Osama's escape from the Tora Bora caves before his termination.

 

ATTACHMENT FOUR  From the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) 

ISLAMIC STATE KHORASAN (IS-K)

This analysis of IS-K was published in 2018 and is not being updated.

 

Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K) is the Islamic State’s Central Asian province and remains active three years after its inception. The Islamic State announced its expansion to the Khorasan region in 2015, which historically encompasses parts of modern day Iran, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.1 Despite initial skepticism about the group’s existence from analysts and government officials alike, IS-K has been responsible for nearly 100 attacks against civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as roughly 250 clashes with the U.S., Afghan, and Pakistani security forces since January 2017.2 Though IS-K has yet to conduct attacks against the U.S. homeland, the group represents an enduring threat to U.S. and allied interests in South and Central Asia. This backgrounder is an overview of the history, leadership, and current strategic goals of IS-K.

 
Formation and Relationship with ISIS Core

In 2014, Pakistani national Hafiz Saeed Khan was chosen to spearhead IS-K province as its first emir.3 Khan, a veteran Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander, brought along other prominent TTP members—including the group’s spokesman Sheikh Maqbool and many district chiefs—when he initially pledged allegiance to al-Baghdadi in October 2014. Many of these individuals were included in the first Khorasan Shura or leadership council.4

IS-K’s early membership included a contingent of Pakistani militants who emerged in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province around 2010, just across the border from the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan.5 Many of these militants were estranged members of TTP and Lashkar-e Islam, who had fled Pakistan to escape pressure from security forces.6 The appointment of Khan as IS-K’s first emir, and former Taliban commander Abdul Rauf Khadim as his deputy, further facilitated the group’s growth, utilizing long established recruitment networks in Afghanistan and Pakistan.7 According to the Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point, as of 2017, some members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the Haqqani Network, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) had also defected to IS-K.8

IS-K has received support from the Islamic State’s core leadership in Iraq and Syria since its founding in 2015. As the Islamic State loses territory, it has increasingly turned to Afghanistan as a base for its global caliphate.9 Following IS-K’s official pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State’s global “ummah,” Islamic State wilayats (or provinces) in Iraq and Syria publicly announced their congratulations for the movement’s expansion into Central Asia through media statements and videos.10 To that end, the Islamic State has invested some financial resources in its Khorasan province—as much as several hundred thousand dollars—to improve its networks and organization in Central Asia.11 Additionally, a recent United Nations publication commented that “[ISIS] core continues to facilitate the relocation of some of its key operatives to Afghanistan,” including Abu Qutaiba, the Islamic State’s former leader in Iraq’s Salah al-Din province.12 Afghanistan remains a top destination for foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) in the region, as well as for fighters leaving battlefields in the Levant.13 IS-K’s public affairs prowess, global prestige, and sustained resources facilitate the recruitment of these FTFs, drawing them away from other militant movements.


Leadership and Strategy

IS-K founding emir, Hafiz Saeed Khan, was killed by a United States airstrike in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, on July 26, 2016.15 Following Khan’s death, IS-K has had three subsequent emirs, all of whom have also been eliminated by the United States in targeted strikes: Abdul Hasib was killed in April 2017; Abu Sayed was killed on July 11, 2017; and most recently, Abu Saad Orakzai was killed on August 25, 2018.16 These leaders, as well as those at the district and provincial levels, generally possessed meaningful experience with local militant movements in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan prior to joining IS-K.

IS-K’s overarching strategy includes local and global objectives. In a 2015 video series, IS-K’s media office declared that “There is no doubt that Allah the Almighty blessed us with jihad in the land of Khorasan since a long time ago, and it is from the grace of Allah that we fought any disbeliever who entered the land of Khorasan. All of this is for the sake of establishing the Shariah.” It went on to declare, “Know that the Islamic Caliphate is not limited to a particular country. These young men will fight against every disbeliever, whether in the west, east, south, or north.”17 Like the Islamic State’s core leadership in Iraq and Syria, IS-K seeks to establish a Caliphate beginning in South and Central Asia, governed by sharia law, which will expand as Muslims from across the region and world join. IS-K disregards international borders and envisions its territory transcending nation-states like Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Furthermore, its global aspirations include “[raising] the banner of al-Uqab above Jerusalem and the White House,” which equates to the defeat of both Israel and the United States.18 IS-K’s ideology seeks to rid its territory of foreign “crusaders” who “proselytize Muslims” as well as “apostates,” which include anyone from Sunni Afghan National Army recruits to Hazara Shias.19 While there is no evidence that Islamic Khorasan has been involved in plotting against the U.S. homeland, it has mocked and threatened the United States in its official media streams and called for lone-wolf attacks in the West.20

IS-K seeks to establish a Caliphate beginning in South and Central Asia, governed by sharia law, which will expand as Muslims from across the region and world join.

IS-K carries out its global strategy in different operating environments by curating it to local conditions. Consider, for example, the divided region of Kashmir. It sits at the top of the Indian subcontinent and serves as a flashpoint for conflict between historically feuding nuclear powers, Pakistan and India. With nationalistic leaders dominating politics in both Islamabad and New Delhi, perpetual unrest in the disputed territories, and precedent of state-sponsored terrorism, Kashmir is fertile ground for future IS-K subversion.21,22 In Afghanistan and Pakistan, IS-K’s strategy seeks to delegitimize the governments and degrade public trust in democratic processes, sowing instability in nation-states, which the group views as illegitimate. Recently, in the lead up to 2018 parliamentary elections in Afghanistan, IS-K warned citizens in Nangarhar province, “We caution the Muslims in the province from approaching election centers, and we recommend that they stay away from them so as to safeguard their blood, as these are legitimate targets for us.”23 IS-K claimed multiple attacks on “elections centers” and security forces during the Afghan parliamentary elections, following through on their warning to “sabotage the polytheistic process and disrupt it.”24


Operations and Tactics

According to the CSIS Transnational Threats Project’s recent report on Salafi-jihadist groups, IS-K has a fighting force of between 600 and 800 militants as of October 2018. These numbers are down from peak levels in 2016 when its fighting force numbered between 3,000 to 4,000 militants.[25] Despite the decrease in known fighters, the IS-K continues to plot and carry out high-level attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan and attempts to export its violent ideology to the West.26 For example, IS-K released congratulatory videos after the 2016 Islamic State inspired attacks in Orlando, Florida, and Magnanville, France, and subsequently released additional footage pleading for further lone-wolf attacks in the West.27

Despite the aforementioned efforts to inspire attacks abroad, IS-K’s violence remains largely localized. Since January 2017, IS-K has executed 84 attacks against civilians in Afghanistan and 11 in Pakistan. In Afghanistan, 819 civilians have been killed across 15 provinces, with the highest levels of violence in Kabul and Nangarhar.28 IS-K focused on Kabul and key provincial capitals during the October 2018 parliamentary elections, and future attacks are likely to follow a similar pattern; with presidential elections scheduled for 2019, IS-K “sleeper cells” will continue to plan “visible and disruptive attacks” in Kabul, Herat, and Jalalabad.29 In Pakistan, IS-K is responsible for the deaths of 338 civilians since January 2017, largely a result of attacks targeting electoral and sectarian institutions.30 These tactics in Afghanistan and Pakistan further demonstrate IS-K’s localized strategy aimed at delegitimizing existing states, degrading trust in democracy, exploiting sectarianism, and sowing instability in its areas of influence.


Inter-Group Competition in Khorasan

Islamic State core’s decision to formally expand into South and Central Asia was premised on the region’s existing networks for recruitment and weak governance, as well as the group’s financial flexibility from success in Iraq and Syria. However, IS-K’s hostility towards Pakistan, indiscriminate takfiri violence, and willingness to exploit local grievances has mounted considerable aversion to the Islamic State in Pakistan and Afghanistan.31 Its expansion sparked violent conflict and rivalry between IS-K and some of the region’s existing militant organizations, most notably the Afghan Taliban.32

Since January 2017, the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) has recorded 207 clashes between IS-K and the Afghan Taliban.[34] These clashes occurred in 14 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, though the majority took place in Nangarhar, Jowzjan, and Kunar provinces. Clashes in Nangarhar and Kunar are to be expected, as these provinces lay on the border with Pakistan and have served as bases of operation for IS-K since its founding. Violence in Jowzjan, however, largely stems from the defection of former Taliban and IMU commander Qari Hekmatullah, who pledged allegiance to IS-K in 2016. Hekmatullah’s networks in Jowzjan facilitated the Islamic State’s expansion in the province through March 2018, but following Hekmatullah’s death by U.S. airstrike in April 2018, the Taliban resurged.35 In recent months, the Taliban claims to have achieved “exemplary defeat” of IS-K in Jowzjan.36

United States Response

U.S. policy indicates the recognition of—and response to—the threat posed by IS-K and the escalating violence it has provoked in Central Asia. The U.S. Department of State designated IS-K as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on January 14, 2016, and United States Central Command has escalated its air campaign against the group since 2016 when rules of engagement expanded under President Obama and President Trump.38 According to data compiled by ACLED, U.S. and NATO airstrikes against IS-K have been conducted over 300 times since January 2017. Though the group’s presence across Afghanistan is increasing, airstrikes have been nearly exclusive to Nangarhar and Kunar provinces (96 percent of all airstrikes since January 2017) in an effort to target operational bases and leadership.39 All in all, while IS-K’s goal of establishing an Islamic state in Central Asia remains improbable, its propensity for exploiting grievances, catalyzing instability, and taking advantage of ungoverned spaces will make peaceful reconciliation and nation-building in Afghanistan difficult for the foreseeable future.

This terrorism backgrounder was compiled by Clayton Sharb with assistance from Danika Newlee and the CSIS iDeas Lab.


1Khorasan comes from the Persian language and means “where the sun arrives from” ; Markham Nolan and Gilad Shiloach, “ISIS Statement Urges Attacks, Announces Khorasan State,” vocativ, January 26, 2015, https://www.vocativ.com/world/isis-2/ISIS-Khorasan/; LWJ staff, “Islamic State appoints leaders of ‘Khorasan province,’ issues veiled threat to Afghan Taliban,” FDD’s Long War Journal, January 27, 2015, https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/01/islamic_state_appoin.php.
2Seth G. Jones, “Expanding the Caliphate: ISIS’ South Asia Strategy,” Foreign Affairs, June 11, 2015, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/afghanistan/2015-06-11/expanding-caliphate; Data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, updated October 12, 2018.
3“Treasury Sanctions Major Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Leaders, Financial Figures, Facilitators, and Supporters,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, September 29, 2015, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0188.aspx.
4LWJ staff, “Pakistani Taliban Splinter Group Again Pledges Allegiance to Islamic State,” FDD’s Long War Journal, January 13, 2015, https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/01/video_pakistani_tali_2.php; “Pakistani Taliban Vow Support for ISIS fighters,” Al Arabiya News, October 5, 2014, https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/10/05/Pakistan-Taliban-pledges-support-to-ISIS-.html ; Islamuddin Sajid, “Hafiz Saeed Khan: The Former Taliban Warlord Taking ISIS to India and Pakistan,” International Business Times, January 19, 2015, https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/hafiz-saeed-khan-former-taliban-warlord-taking-isis-india-pakistan-1484135; Ankit Panda, “Meet the 'Khorasan Shura': The Islamic State's Leaders for South Asia,” The Diplomat, January 29, 2015, https://thediplomat.com/2015/01/meet-the-khorasan-shura-the-islamic-states-leaders-for-south-asia/; Franz J. Marty, “The Looming Specter of Daesh in Afghanistan,” Foreign Policy, February 9, 2015, https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/02/09/the-looming-spectre-of-daesh-in-afghanistan/.
5Borhan Osman, “The Islamic State in ‘Khorasan’: How It Began and Where It Stands Now in Nangarhar,” Afghanistan Analysts Network, July, 27, 2016, https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/the-islamic-state-in-khorasan-how-it-began-and-where-it-stands-now-in-nangarhar/; Amir Wasim, “President Signs KP-Fata Merger Bill into Law,” Dawn, May 31, 2018, https://www.dawn.com/news/1411156.
6Borhan Osman, “The Islamic State in ‘Khorasan’: How It Began and Where It Stands Now in Nangarhar.”
7Borhan Osman, “The Shadows of ‘Islamic State’ in Afghanistan: What Threat Does It Hold?” Afghanistan Analysts Network, February 12, 2015, https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/the-shadows-of-islamic-state-in-afghanistan-what-threat-does-it-hold/; Don Rassler, “Situating the Emergence of the Islamic State of Khorasan,” CTC Sentinel, Volume 8, Issue 3, March 2015, https://ctc.usma.edu/situating-the-emergence-of-the-islamic-state-of-khorasan/.
8Amira Jadoon, Nakissa Jahanbani, and Charmaine Willis, “Challenging the ISK Brand in Afghanistan-Pakistan: Rivalries and Divided Loyalties,” CTC Sentinel, Volume 11, Issue 4, April 2018, https://ctc.usma.edu/challenging-isk-brand-afghanistan-pakistan-rivalries-divided-loyalties/.
9United Nations Security Council (UNSC), Ninth Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team Submitted Pursuant to Resolution 2255 (2015) Concerning the Taliban and Other Associated Individuals and Entities Constituting a Threat to the Peace, Stability and Security of Afghanistan (S/2018/466), May 30, 2018, https://undocs.org/S/2018/466.
10“IS Fighters in Salah al-Din Celebrate Pledge of Khorasan Province in Video, Behead Police Official,” SITE Intelligence Group, February 11, 2015, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Multimedia/is-fighters-in-salah-al-din-celebrate-pledge-of-khorasan-province-in-video-behead-police-official.html; “IS Fighters in Diyala Congratulate “Khorasan Province” for Pledging,” SITE Intelligence Group, February 20, 2015, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Multimedia/is-fighters-in-diyala-congratulate-khorasan-province-for-pledging.html.
11Seth G. Jones, “The Islamic State-Taliban Rivalry in Afghanistan,” Brookings’ Lawfare Blog, November 27, 2016, https://www.lawfareblog.com/islamic-state-taliban-rivalry-afghanistan.
12United Nations Security Council (UNSC), Twenty-Second Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team Submitted Pursuant to Resolution 2368 (2017) Concerning ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and Associated Individuals and Entities (S/2018/705), 6-17, July 27, 2018, https://undocs.org/S/2018/705.
13“English-Speaking IS Fighter in Khorasan Province Video Notes Presence of Indians and Russians in its Ranks,” SITE Intelligence Group, September 6, 2017, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Multimedia/english-speaking-is-fighter-in-khorasan-province-video-notes-presence-of-indians-and-russians-in-its-ranks.html; UNSC, “Twenty-Second Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team” ; UNSC, “Ninth Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team.”
14 “IS’ Khorasan Province Publishes Photos of Graduation from “Abu Umar al-Shishani” Training Camp,” SITE Intelligence Group, December 26, 2017, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Statements/is-khorasan-province-publishes-photos-of-graduation-from-abu-umar-al-shishani-training-camp.html.
15 “Statement by Deputy Press Secretary Gordon Trowbridge on Strike Targeting an ISIL Leader in Afghanistan,” U.S. Department of Defense, August 12, 2016, https://dod.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/913820/statement-by-deputy-press-secretary-gordon-trowbridge-on-strike-targeting-an-is/.
16 “Statement by Deputy Press Secretary Gordon Trowbridge on Strike Targeting an ISIL Leader in Afghanistan,” U.S. Department of Defense, August 12, 2016, https://dod.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/913820/statement-by-deputy-press-secretary-gordon-trowbridge-on-strike-targeting-an-is/ ; “U.S. Forces in Afghanistan Strike Islamic State Leader; Maintain Pressure on Terror Network,” NATO Resolute Support, September 2, 2018, https://rs.nato.int/news-center/press-releases/2018-press-releases/us-forces-in-afghanistan-strike-islamic-state-leader-maintain-pressure-on-terror-network.aspx.
17“IS’ Khorasan Province Fighter Rallies Colleagues, Promotes Support of “Caliphate” in Video,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 3, 2015, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Multimedia/fighter-in-is-khorasan-province-rallies-colleagues-promotes-support-of-caliphate-in-video.html.
18SITE Intelligence Group, “IS’ Khorasan Province Fighter Rallies Colleagues, Promotes Support of “Caliphate” in Video.”
19“IS’ Khorasan Province Claims Killing 100+ in Suicide Operation on Save the Children Office, Other Institutions in Jalalabad,” SITE Intelligence Group, January 24, 2018, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Statements/is-khorasan-province-claims-killing-100-in-suicide-operation-on-save-the-children-office-other-institutions-in-jalalabad.html.
20See, for example, “IS Video Promotes Afghanistan as Option for Immigration, Features Foreign Children and Adults,” SITE Intelligence Group, March 6, 2018, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Multimedia/is-video-promotes-afghanistan-as-option-for-immigration-features-foreign-children-and-adults.html.
21See, for example, Fayaz Bukhari, “Skirmishes in Indian Kashmir Leave Police Officer, Seven Militants Dead,” Reuters, September 11, 2016, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-kashmir-idUSKCN11H0PU; Bruce Riedel, “Modeled on Mumbai? Why the 2008 India Attack Is the Best Way to Understand Paris,” Brookings’ Markaz Blog, November 14, 2015, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/markaz/2015/11/14/modeled-on-mumbai-why-the-2008-india-attack-is-the-best-way-to-understand-paris/ ; See, for example, “IS Claims Killing Indian Intelligence Official in Kashmir,” , SITE Intelligence Group, September 10, 2018, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Statements/is-claims-killing-indian-intelligence-official-in-kashmir.html; “IS' Khorasan Province Claims 1 Indian Soldier Killed, 8 Wounded in Clash in Kashmir,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 22, 2018, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Statements/is-khorasan-province-claims-1-indian-soldier-killed-8-wounded-in-clash-in-kashmir.html.
22See, for example, “IS Claims Killing Indian Intelligence Official in Kashmir,” , SITE Intelligence Group, September 10, 2018, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Statements/is-claims-killing-indian-intelligence-official-in-kashmir.html; “IS' Khorasan Province Claims 1 Indian Soldier Killed, 8 Wounded in Clash in Kashmir,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 22, 2018, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Statements/is-khorasan-province-claims-1-indian-soldier-killed-8-wounded-in-clash-in-kashmir.html.
23“IS' Khorasan Province Cautions Muslims in Nangarhar from Approaching Election Centers,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 30, 2018, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Statements/is-khorasan-province-cautions-muslims-in-nangarhar-from-approaching-election-centers.html.
24“IS' Khorasan Province Issues Formal Communique for Election Day Attacks in Kabul and Nangarhar,” SITE Intelligence Group, October 23, 2018, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Statements/is-khorasan-province-issues-formal-communique-for-election-day-attacks-in-kabul-and-nangarhar.html ; “IS' Khorasan Province Claims Inflicting 90 Casualties at Suicide Bombing at Election Rally in Nangarhar,” SITE Intelligence Group, October 2, 2018, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Statements/is-khorasan-province-claims-inflicting-90-casualties-at-suicide-bombing-at-election-rally-in-nangarhar.html.
25Data from the CSIS Transnational Threats Project’s 2018 report, The Evolving Terror Threat (forthcoming).
26UNSC, “Twenty-Second Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team.”
27“IS' Khorasan Province Shows "Joy" of Children for Orlando, Magnanville Attacks,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 15, 2016, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Jihadist-News/is-khorasan-province-shows-joy-of-children-for-orlando-magnanville-attacks.html ; “Fighters in IS' Khorasan Province Call for Lone-Wolf Attacks in West, Challenge U.S. to Put Boots on Ground,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 19, 2016, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Multimedia/fighters-in-is-khorasan-province-call-for-lone-wolf-attacks-in-west-in-video.html.
28 Data is from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, updated October 12, 2018, https://www.acleddata.com/data/.
29 UNSC, “Twenty-Second Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team.”
30 Data is from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, updated October 12, 2018, https://www.acleddata.com/data/.
31See, for example, “IS’ Khorasan Province Claims Attack on Bus Transporting Ismailis in Karachi,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 13, 2015, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Jihadist-News/is-khorasan-province-claims-attack-on-bus-transporting-ismailis-in-karachi.html; “Anti-IS Jihadists Claim Group Killed Afghan Taliban’s Leader for Nangarhar,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 13, 2015, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Jihadist-News/anti-is-jihadists-claim-group-killed-afghan-taliban-s-leader-for-nangarhar.html ; Amira Jadoon, Nakissa Jahanbani, and Charmaine Willis, “Challenging the ISK Brand in Afghanistan-Pakistan: Rivalries and Divided Loyalties.”
32See, for example, Najim Hahim and Rod Nordland, “Taliban Surge Routs ISIS in Northern Afghanistan,” New York Times, August 1, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/01/world/asia/afghanistan-taliban-isis.html.
33Data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, updated October 12, 2018, https://www.acleddata.com/data/.
34Ibid.
35
Obaid Ali, “Qari Hekmat’s Island: A Daesh Enclave in Jawzjan?” Afghanistan Analysts Network, November 11, 2017, https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/qari-hekmats-island-a-daesh-enclave-in-jawzjan/; Obaid Ali, “Non-Pashtun Taleban of the North (4): A case study from Jawzjan,” Afghanistan Analysts Network, September 18, 2017, https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/non-pashtun-taleban-of-the-north-4-a-case-study-from-jawzjan/; SITE Intelligence Group, “IS Video Promotes Afghanistan as Option for Immigration, Features Foreign Children and Adults”; “Afghan and U.S. Special Operations Decimate IS-K in Northern Afghanistan,” NATO Resolute Support, April 15, 2018 https://rs.nato.int/news-center/press-releases/2018-press-releases/afghan-and-us-special-operations-decimate-isk-in-northern-afghanistan.aspx.
36“Afghan Taliban Again Boasts of Rendering IS an "Exemplary Defeat" in Northern Afghanistan, Charges U.S. with Backing IS,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 28, 2018, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Statements/afghan-taliban-again-boasts-of-rendering-is-an-exemplary-defeat-in-northern-afghanistan-charges-u-s-with-backing-is.html; “Afghan Taliban Documents in Video its Purging IS Fighters from Jowzjan's Darzab District,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 20, 2018, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Multimedia/afghan-taliban-documents-in-video-its-purging-is-fighters-from-jowzjan-s-darzab-district.html.
37Data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, updated October 12, 2018, https://www.acleddata.com/data/.
38“Foreign Terrorist Organization Designation of ISIL - Khorasan (ISIL-K),” U.S. Department of State. January 14, 2016, https://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/266511.htm; “Air Power Summary as of August 31, 2018,” U.S. Air Force Central Command Combined Air Operations Center, August 31, 2018, http://www.afcent.af.mil/Portals/82/Documents/Airpower%20summary/Airpower%20Summary%20Aug%202018.pdf?ver=2018-10-21-035641-837.
39UNSC, “Twenty-second report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team.”

 

ATTACHMENT FIVE – From the bbc

 

ABU BAKR AL-BAGHDADI: IS LEADER 'DEAD AFTER US RAID' IN SYRIA

Published  28 October 2019

 

The fugitive leader of the Islamic State (IS) group killed himself during a US military operation in north-west Syria, President Donald Trump has said.

Speaking from the White House, Mr Trump said Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi detonated his suicide vest after fleeing into a tunnel, chased by US military dogs. 10/28/19

Baghdadi came to prominence in 2014, when he announced the creation of a "caliphate" in areas of Iraq and Syria.

IS carried out multiple atrocities that resulted in thousands of deaths.

The jihadist group imposed a brutal rule in the areas under its control and was behind many attacks around the world. Although the US declared the "caliphate" defeated earlier this year, IS militants remain active in the region and elsewhere.

Baghdadi's death is a major victory for Mr Trump as he faces heavy criticism for his decision to pull US troops out of northern Syria and fights an impeachment inquiry launched by Democrats.

In an unusual Sunday morning statement, Mr Trump described the night-time operation in extraordinary detail, saying Baghdadi ran into a dead-end tunnel, "whimpering and crying and screaming", while being chased by military dogs.

Baghdadi killed himself and three of his children by igniting his suicide vest, Mr Trump said, causing the tunnel to collapse. No US personnel were killed but one of the dogs was seriously injured in the explosion.

The blast mutilated Baghdadi's body but, according to the president, an on-site DNA test confirmed his identity. The special forces spent two hours in the area and gathered "highly sensitive material".

"The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him," Mr Trump said.

Also on Sunday, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said IS spokesman Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir, described as Baghdadi's right-hand man, had been killed in a separate joint operation with the US military near the northern Syrian town of Jarablus.

What is known about the Baghdadi operation?

The location - the village of Barisha in Idlib province near the Turkish border - was far from where Baghdadi had been thought to be hiding along the Syria-Iraq border. Many parts of Idlib are under the control of jihadists opposed to IS but rival groups are suspected of sheltering IS members.

Baghdadi had been under surveillance for "a couple of weeks" and "two or three" raids had been cancelled because of his movements, Mr Trump said, describing the IS leader's move to Idlib as part of a plan to rebuild the group.

An undisclosed number of forces targeted the compound using eight helicopters, which were met with gunfire, Mr Trump said. The commandos managed to land safely and entered the building by blowing holes in the wall, avoiding the main door which was believed to be booby-trapped.

"He was a sick and depraved man," Mr Trump said. "He died like a dog, he died like a coward."

US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said Baghdadi's remains should be given the same treatment applied to those of former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, whose body was buried at sea after he was killed in a raid in 2011.

A "large number" of Baghdadi's followers also died while others were captured, the president said. The dead included two of Baghdadi's wives who were both found wearing explosive vests that were not detonated.

Eleven children were removed, uninjured, from the compound.

The SDF - one of the main US allies in northern Syria until Mr Trump withdrew US troops from the area this month - said they had shared details about the location of high-level IS members, including Baghdadi. Iraqi officials also said they had provided "accurate information".

Mr Trump praised them all, as well as Russia - which opened up the airspace it controls for the operation - Turkey and Syria for giving "certain support" to the operation. He said Russia had not been told about the nature of the US mission.

After the president's address, the White House released pictures said to be of Mr Trump watching the operation from the Situation Room surrounded by Vice-President Mike Pence and top security officials.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

While IS lost its territory in Syria and Iraq after a years-long deadly campaign, experts say the group remains a threat, with affiliates active in various countries.

 

 

ATTACHMENT FIVE (A) – From the bbc

 

A FOREIGN POLICY SUCCESS FOR DONALD TRUMP

by Anthony Zurcher

 

The strategic significance of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death is clear. Removing a skilled and brutal leader from the battlefield will undoubtedly make allied efforts to eradicate IS forces easier. The lasting political benefits for Donald Trump remain to be seen.

Baghdadi was far from a household name in the US, although IS has been a well-known adversary ever since its brutal executions and advance grabbed headlines in 2014. His death will give Mr Trump a signature moment to cite when making the case that his leadership has led to the methodical defeat of IS forces.

It also will help deflect from weeks of sharp bipartisan criticism following the president's decision to remove US forces from northern Syria and tacitly permit a Turkish invasion to drive out US-allied Kurds.

While it is true most Americans only pay attention to foreign policy during times of war, most of Mr Trump's current political headaches have come from actions directed abroad - whether it's the Syrian move or the rapidly unfolding impeachment inquiry into his Ukraine conduct.

Now the president has a clear foreign policy success to tout. It will not solve all his political problems, but it is a start.

How has the world reacted?

Leaders around the world reacted to the news of Baghdadi's death, with many stressing that the fight against the group continues.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Baghdadi's death was "an important moment in our fight against terror but the battle against the evil of [IS] is not over yet".

French President Emmanuel Macron described the development as a "hard blow" against IS, but said "the fight continues to finally defeat this terrorist organisation".

In a statement, the Iraqi government highlighted its role in finding Baghdadi's hideout, and said it would continue to "relentlessly pursue" the militant group.

Who was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?

Baghdadi, whose real name was Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim al-Badri, had a reputation as a highly organised and ruthless battlefield tactician. He was described as the world's most wanted man.

He was born near Samarra, north of Baghdad, in 1971, and reports suggest he was a cleric in a mosque in the city around the time of the US-led invasion in 2003.

Some believe he was already a jihadist during the rule of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Others suggest he was radicalised during the time he was held at Camp Bucca, a US facility in southern Iraq where many al-Qaeda commanders were detained.

A video appearing to show the IS group leader was released earlier this year

Baghdadi emerged in 2010 as the leader of an umbrella group that included al-Qaeda in Iraq, and rose to prominence when IS militants captured the Iraqi city of Mosul in 2014, when he declared the creation of a "caliphate".

That was the only time Baghdadi was seen in public. At its peak, IS had eight million people in territories under its control. Baghdadi only reappeared in a video released by IS earlier this year.

In October 2011, the US officially designated him a "terrorist" and offered a reward of $10m (£5.8m at the time) for information leading to his capture or death. This was increased to $25m in 2017.

 

ATTACHMENT SIX – from the Washington Post

 

ISIS-K IS READY TO FIGHT THE TALIBAN. HERE’S HOW THE GROUP BECAME A MAJOR THREAT IN AFGHANISTAN.

Opinion by Abdul Sayed, 8/29

Abdul Sayed is a security specialist on radical militant groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan based in Lund, Sweden.

 

As President Biden honors the U.S. troops killed in Thursday’s suicide bombing in Kabul and Afghan families prepare to bury and mourn their dead, threats of more horrific attacks by the terrorist group known as Islamic State-Khorasan, or ISIS-K, the Afghanistan and Pakistan arm of the Islamic State, hang over the U.S. evacuation.

The group claimed responsibility for the airport attack, striking a major blow against the departing U.S forces and Afghanistan’s new rulers, the Taliban. Until Thursday, ISIS-K hadn’t claimed credit for any American casualties in Afghanistan since the February 2020 U.S.-Taliban peace agreement. With their latest attack, the group undermined the Taliban’s claim of being able to provide security and stability once the United States is gone.

ISIS-K emerged in 2015 from disgruntled members of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as some of members of al-Qaeda. The group has grown while playing the sectarian card, proclaiming their quest for Salafist supremacy in Afghanistan against the dominance of the Hanafists Taliban. (See Attachments below).

Between 2015 and 2016, it acquired control of larger territories in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar and Kunar provinces, weakening the Afghan Taliban presence there. It’s estimated to have around 4,000-5,000 fighters — their ranks enlarged by the recent prison breaks that followed the collapse of the government.

From 2016 to 2020, American counterterrorism operations, including President Donald Trump’s use of the “the mother of all bombs,” hurt ISIS-K. Afghan forces and Taliban militia also punished the group in its strongholds in Nangarhar and Kunar from the ground. In recent years thousands of their members have been arrested, wounded or killed.

With this progress, U.S. and Afghan officials —as well as Taliban leaders— often celebrated the end of ISIS-K. But the group has adapted to the military pressures swiftly. For the past year, I’ve watched how the group has taken a new shape to become more dangerous. They have taken two notable steps to resurge.

First, after the Taliban reached the agreement with the United States, ISIS-K announced a long new war against them. The group’s emir, Shahab al-Muhajir, appointed in May 2020, affirmed the plan for the war by announcing a new urban terrorism campaign against the Taliban, the Afghan government and “their U.S. masters.”

Second, it started building an urban network by elevating leaders and recruiting operational fighters from cities such as Kabul, including battle-hardened, educated and highly radicalized adherents of Salafism and some Ikhwani militia members of former Afghan militant groups. The Kabul network also absorbed splinters and defectors from the Taliban’s radical Haqqani network.

These fighters have ample experience in urban tactics. They have carried out deadly and sophisticated attacks in Kabul and Jalalabad. In August (2020), the group staged a 20-hour assault at a prison in Nangarhar, releasing around 1,000 prisoners, including hundreds of ISIS-K members. Other attacks in Kabul have targeted the Hazara community, Sikhs and educational institutions. They have also launched missile attacks against government buildings and the Bagram air base.

Many analysts argue that there is an alliance between ISIS-K and the Taliban’s Haqqani network. When Afghan counterterrorism agencies arrested former Haqqani terrorists who joined ISIS-K in Kabul, they assumed they were behind the violence to sabotage the Taliban’s Doha peace deal with the United States.

It’s a possibility, but ISIS-K literature and propaganda materials, which I have studied in detail, place a major emphasis on killing Taliban and Haqqani network leaders and members, proclaiming it to be a higher “religious duty” than the United States and other “apostates.” The Haqqani network and ISIS-K have also fought a brutal war with each other in eastern Kunar province.

The Taliban, as it transitions from insurgency to government, will try to contain ISIS-K, but to do that it may have to disavow some of its more radical positions to gain added legitimacy, which in turn could create another wave of defectors into the ranks of the Islamic State. ISIS-K has already attacked the Taliban for “deviating” from its original jihadist past.

For the West, ISIS-K doesn’t seem to present an imminent danger, at least not yet. Of course, if over-the-horizon attacks against them continue — such as the drone strikes carried out in recent days in retaliation—the group might start planning terrorist attacks beyond Afghanistan. There’s reason to fear this. According to a West Point report, an ISIS-K cell planned an attack with Syrian allies against U.S. and NATO military bases in Germany. The plot was thwarted by German police in April 2020, but it highlights the counterterrorism challenges posed by the group in the future.

For now, we can anticipate more violence from ISIS-K as the Taliban assumes control. The group’s horrific violence will continue to scar Afghanistan and its beleaguered civilian population. Afghanistan is entering another dangerous phase of violence.

 

ATTACHMENT SEVEN – from CISAC (Stanford), 2018

THE SALAFIST TENDENCY

ORGANIZATIONAL OVERVIEW - SALAFIST

Formed: January 26, 2015

Disbanded: Group is active.

First Attack: April 18, 2015: IS-KP conducted a suicide bombing outside a bank in Jalalabad, Afghanistan (33 killed, 100+ wounded).[1]

Last Attack: April 30, 2018: IS-KP conducted two suicide bombings in Kabulm Afghanistan (29 killed, 50 wounded).[2]

Executive Summary

The Islamic State in Khorasan Province (IS-KP) is a branch of the Salafi militant organization, the Islamic State, that is active in Afghanistan and Pakistan.[3] IS-KP’s main goal is to establish and maintain Khorasan as a wilayat (province) of the global IS caliphate.[4] IS-KP’s primary militant adversary is the Afghan Taliban, with which it frequently engages in battles for territorial control over Afghanistan.[5] The hostility between the two groups stems both from ideological differences and competition for resources. IS-KP is strongest in the Nangarhar Province of eastern Afghanistan, particularly in the Chaprarhar, Nazyan, and Deh Bala districts. However, as of 2017, U.S. and Afghan forces have rolled back the group’s reach by capturing significant portions of IS-KP territory.[6] Although U.S. and Afghan forces have killed the first tier of IS-KP leadership and 75% of its fighters, the group has proven resilient.[7] Since spring 2017 and continuing through 2018, IS-KP has launched several major assaults in Kabul, Herat, and Jalalabad. U.S. experts estimate that IS-KP will continue to recruit militants, disseminate propaganda, and launch attacks on urban centers as long as IS exists.[8]

 

Group Narrative

Before 2010, many of the militants who currently belong to IS-KP fought for other militant organizations, such as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). In 2010, the majority of these militants fled Orakzai Agency, Pakistan for Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, in order to escape the Pakistan Army’s major anti-terror operation, Khwakh Ba dee Sham.[9] After arriving in Nangarhar with their families, the militants claimed to be refugees, or muhajerin, and demanded hospitality from the local Pashtun population. As they settled into their new home, the muhajerin continued to carry weapons and display their allegiance to Pakistani militant groups such as the TTP. However, after TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud died in November 2013, the TTP fragmented. As a result, many of the muhajerin militant groups in Nangarhar began to operate autonomously, splitting into smaller, more ruthless factions.[10]

Throughout 2014, these groups operated in Afghanistan and Pakistan as apolitical armed gangs, extorting money from villagers and conducting kidnappings for ransom. The mujaherin’s predatory behavior further strained their relationship with the TTP and the Taliban. In 2014, IS propaganda began to circulate throughout the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. Leaflets encouraging militants to defect to IS were found in multiple rural provinces, as well as in larger cities such as Kabul, Afghanistan, and Jalalabad, Pakistan.[11] One sign of the IS’s growing influence in Afghanistan came in March that year, when nine former Yemeni and Saudi Al Qaeda leaders defected to IS, while hiding along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.[12] Shortly thereafter, several other militant groups operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan, including the Al Tawhid Brigade, Ansar ul-Khilafat Wal-Jihad, and Jundullah, pledged allegiance to IS.[13] However, IS’s position in Afghanistan did not solidify until July 1, 2014, when Afghan national Rahim Muslim Dost, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee with connections to Al Qaeda and the Taliban, publicly declared his allegiance to IS.[14]   This announcement coincided with the release of a booklet called Fata (victory), which advocated for the violent establishment of an IS in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces.[15]

In the months to follow, the Khorasan chapter grew in strength as TTP commanders defected from the TTP to join IS, following the contentious appointment of Mullah Fazlullah as the leader of the TTP.[16] For example, in October 2014, Hafiz Saeed Khan (originally considered to succeed the TTP’s Hakimullah Mehsud) and Shahidullah Shahid (the main spokesman of the TTP) both pledged allegiance to IS. Additionally, the TTP chiefs of Kurram Agency, Khyber Agency, Peshawar, and Hanugu district, who collectively maintained TTP control over the central FATA, also defected to IS. This loss for the TTP was an extremely valuable victory for IS, as it provided the group control over the strategic travel and trade routes stretching from Peshawar to Khyber Pass.[17]

On January 10, 2015, Hafiz Saeed, Shahid, and the four former TTP chiefs of the central FATA released a video in conjunction with an expanded group of former Taliban commanders and leaders from other jihadi groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The video reaffirmed their allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and declared themselves to be the new administrators of the official IS province in Afghanistan. The men, who had appointed Hafiz Saeed Khan as their leader, also claimed to be backed by an even broader network of groups in Khyber, Kunar, and Dir. Immediately after the release of the video, 50 militants from the Amr Bil Maroof group joined the ranks of Hafiz Saeed’s group. On January 26, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani backed this statement, and subsequently named Hafiz Saeed as the emir for the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (IS-KP).[18] Adnani encouraged all militants in Khorasan (a historic name for the region including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia) to unite under IS-KP.[19] Hafiz Saeed and his deputy, Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadim, utilized their existing connections to militant networks to recruit from the eastern and southern provinces of Afghanistan. IS-KP quickly attracted new recruits, due to the appeal of its international reputation.[20]

One notable effect of the official establishment of IS-KP is that it spurred IS and the Afghan Taliban to declare war on one another in January 2015. The hostility between the two groups arose both from ideological differences and competition for resources. IS accused the Taliban of drawing its legitimacy from a narrow ethnic and nationalistic base, rather than a universal Islamic creed.[21] Meanwhile the Taliban continued to suffer as large numbers of its militants defected from the Taliban to join IS-KP.[22]

Within Nangarhar, the franchise first took root in the Mamand area of Achin district near the strategically advantageous Tirah Valley corridor, a popular and relatively unregulated militant crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, by February 2015, locals were flying the black IS flag from residences in seven districts in southeastern Nangarhar. In the following month, IS-KP also expanded into Logar province, establishing a training base and attacking multiple Sufi shrines.[23]

Meanwhile, about five hundred miles southwest of Nangarhar, Abdul Rauf Khadim was leading a parallel effort to establish an IS front in Helmand province. Although Khadim’s cell was well-financed and approximately three hundred men strong, the Taliban surrounded its position. Without access to open supply routes and safe havens in Pakistan, the cell fell to the Taliban by early February 2015.[24]

As the Taliban began to realize the potential threat IS-KP posed to its control over the Nangarhar region, it attempted to shut down muhajer madrassas, and confiscated a shipment of weapons in Mamand. In March and April 2015, the Taliban entered into a brief period of negotiations with IS-KP. However, the militants refused to leave Nangarhar, resulting in a series of violent clashes with the Taliban. By mid-May 2015, the Taliban had become the minority group in the Mamand Valley, Achin, Deh Bala, Kot, and Nazian districts, and was forced to withdraw and regroup.[25]

In May 2015, IS-KP established its headquarters in Mamand under the supervision of visiting IS leaders.[26] During the initial months of IS-KP’s rule in Mamand, specifically from mid-May to early July 2015, villagers viewed the group as a benign and positive alternative to the Taliban. Unlike the Taliban, which forcibly took from the local population, IS-KP provided its own food and shelter, and did not impose a tax. It also initially allowed both male and female schools to remain open.[27] Furthermore, IS-KP commanders claimed that the group had no quarrel with the Afghan government and was instead focused on opposing the Taliban and its link to the ISI. With IS-KP in power, Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and government personnel enjoyed newfound freedom of movement, unhindered by the persecution of the Taliban. Viewing IS-KP as a valuable counterweight to its longtime enemy, the Taliban, the Afghan government refrained from challenging IS-KP for its first two formative months after its emergence in Nangarhar. In return, IS-KP launched no attacks against ANSF and Afghan government personnel during May and June 2015.[28]

By the end of June 2015, IS-KP had captured or contested much of the Taliban’s territory in Nangarhar and was in control of eight of the 22 districts. IS-KP subsequently attempted to expand and consolidate its control through a variety of cruel tactics, including summary justice, forced displacement, and executions of clerics and elders.[29] Despite both forcible and diplomatic attempts by the Taliban to convince IS to leave Afghanistan, local and top-level leadership insisted that the Taliban disband itself and pledge allegiance to the IS caliphate. In response to these failed negotiations, the Taliban issued a fatwa and gathered new support from local tribal elders and political elites in order to launch a defensive campaign against IS-KP in late June 2015. In less than two weeks, the Taliban seized most of IS-KP’s territory in the southwestern districts of Nangarhar. However, its campaign was largely unsuccessful in the southeastern districts of Nangarhar. On July 3, 2015, the Taliban took IS-KP by surprise and successfully ousted the militants from Mamand. However, this victory was short lived. On July 16, the eve of the Muslim holiday, Eid-ul-Fitr, IS-KP militants returned and retook Mamand. After killing a dozen Taliban soldiers and detaining 80 locals, IS-KP slaughtered an additional ten tribal elders accused of supporting the Taliban.[30] This execution, during which the men were blindfolded and then blown up in a field of explosives, brought IS-KP international attention when IS-KP released the gruesome footage from the attack in a propaganda video.[31]

As IS-KP grew more violent, villagers not aligned with IS-KP fled their homes for safer locations, such as Jalalabad or Taliban-controlled areas in western Nangarhar. Once the original residents had been displaced, IS-KP confiscated abandoned property and allowed IS-KP affiliated militants from Kunduz and Helmand to resettle the area.[32]

As a result, IS-KP became so entrenched in Nangarhar that it was virtually impossible for the Afghan government and security forces to exercise any degree of control over the area. From this secured position, IS-KP’s ranks continued to grow as Afghan and Pakistani Taliban militants defected to the group in order to escape the pressure of counterinsurgency operations, such as the Pakistani military’s operation Zarb-e-Azb. Furthermore, IS-KP also partnered with Lashkar-e-Islam (LeI) in order to increase its operational capacity and broaden the base of its support across the Afghanistan and Pakistan border.[33]

Once it had secured power in Nangarhar, IS-KP changed its policy of tolerance toward the Afghan government to one of open aggression. This shift followed the Afghan government’s decision in July 2015 to begin combatting the spread of IS-KP. The government’s new strategy coincided with the series of lethal U.S. airstrikes against three top IS-KP leaders in July 2015, for which the Afghan government claimed to have provided intelligence support. The Afghan government subsequently announced its official plan to unite with the United States in combatting IS-KP, and unveiled a new unit tasked with fighting the group. In addition to blaming the Afghan government for this increased targeting, IS-KP condemned the Afghan government for its persecution of Pakistani militants, its cooperation with the Pakistan Army and ISI, and its support of local, Taliban-backed uprisings against IS-KP. However, despite IS-KP’s declared hostility against the Afghan government, most of its resources were directed at combatting the Taliban. Throughout late 2015 and into 2016, the two groups battled for control over territory in Nangarhar, each time brutally executing and banishing the fighters and sympathizers of the losing group. Certain districts, such as Chaparhar, changed hands multiple times, as the Taliban and IS-KP took turns executing elaborate counterattacks.[34]

By early autumn of 2015, IS-KP had lost much of its popularity among the Nangarhari locals. Although the leniency of IS-KP’s early rule was initially promising, citizens became disenchanted with the group as it began to engage in violent guerilla tactics and enforce Shariah law with brutal punishments. Examples of IS-KP’s brutal governance included school and clinic closures, public executions, killings of tribal elders, kidnappings for ransom, destruction of Sufi shrines, and cigarette bans.[35]

One of IS-KP’s most unpopular policies was its ban on poppy cultivation, which was an extremely important source of income for many families in Nangarhar. Additionally, rumors also began to circulate that local families would be forced to provide IS-KP militants with brides, without dowry payments or consideration for tribe and family lineage. Ultimately, the threats IS-KP posed to the physical, economic, and social wellbeing of the citizens of Nangarhar incited public support for the return of the Taliban.[36]

Recognizing the waning public support of IS-KP as an opportunity to strike, the Taliban launched counter-offensives against the group during summer and autumn of 2015. On January 4, 2016, the Taliban initiated a large-scale operation against IS-KP. Operating with a strength of over 3,000 militants, the Taliban succeeded in expelling IS-KP from Chaparhar and Bati Kot in only three days. Furthermore, from December 2015 through February 2016, the combined effectiveness of Taliban attacks, local uprisings, U.S. drone strikes, and ANSF and pro-Afghan government militia operations halted IS-KP’s territorial expansion. Although IS-KP still controlled Achin, Deh, Bala, Kot, and Nazian, the group’s control over Afghanistan significantly diminished.[37]

By March 2016, a large number of IS-KP fighters and their families had begun to retreat into Pakistan’s Khyber and Orakzai agencies. At the same time, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced to the Afghan Parliament that IS-KP had been defeated in eastern Afghanistan. However, toward the end of March, locals in Achin and Nazyan reported that IS-KP fighters had begun to return to Nangarhar.[38]

In late June 2016, IS-KP used its strongholds in Achin, De Bala, and Pakistani sanctuaries to launch a large offensive against ANSF in central Nangarhar. Operating with a strength of approximately 600 fighters, IS-KP overran six ANSF posts in Kot. However, it suffered severe casualties (estimates ranging from 50 to 250 killed) during these attacks, overwhelmed by the combination of ground combat with the ANSF and U.S. airstrikes. In July 2016, the ANSF launched a series of offensive operations against IS-KP. These ANSF operations were met with varying levels of success. Some resulted in reclaimed territory from IS-KP, while others yielded no significant or lasting gains. In addition to deploying ANSF soldiers, the Afghan government partnered with local militias to halt further IS-KP advances.[39]

Throughout the remainder of 2016, IS-KP dug into its remaining districts in Achin, Kot, Nazyan and Deh Bala. The group’s hold over these districts remained firm until mid-March, when U.S. and Afghan special forces ramped up their joint offensives against IS-KP. In April 2017, the combined special forces launched a new campaign, Operation Hazma, which targeted IS-KP in both Nangarhar and Kunar provinces. Although IS-KP remained entrenched primarily in southern Nangarhar, it began to use Kunar as a source of recruitment and safe haven.[40]

As part of Operation Hazma, the U.S. military coupled ground offensives and night raids with heavy air strikes. This combination was particularly effective in weakening IS-KP in its Mamand stronghold. In their 2017 campaign, Afghan and U.S. forces were almost completely successful in clearing Kot of IS-KP forces. This was a major blow to IS-KP’s territorial control and logistics. Specifically, by capturing Kot, Afghan and U.S. forces succeeded in cutting off one of IS-KP’s main supply lines, through which it previously supplied its fighters with weapons and ammunition.[41]

While Afghan and U.S. forces were successful in Kot, they were less effective in capturing Mamand and Pekha. This was primarily due to the fact that IS-KP was able to avoid penetration by entrenching itself into the valleys’ caves and mountainous terrain.[42] In addition to losing territory to Afghan and U.S. forces, IS-KP suffered an increase in casualties of both low-level militants and high-level leaders. In spring of 2017, IS-KP reportedly lost 300 fighters, and endured two of the deadliest U.S/Afghan attacks to date. On April 13, 2017, the United States dropped the most powerful conventional bomb its arsenal, the “mother of all bombs,” on an IS-KP cave complex. The strike killed an alleged 94 IS-KP militants, including four commanders.[43] Then, on April 27, 2017, U.S. and Afghan special forces launched a particularly successful operation in the heart of IS-KP territory, killing over 30 with bombings and commando raids. Although the U.S. and Afghan forces were successful in removing several high-value IS-KP targets, such as emir Abdul Haseeb Logari, IS-KP used the raids as material for propaganda. Specifically, IS-KP exaggerated the collateral damage of the raids in an attempt to turn locals against the Afghan government.[44]

Although IS-KP experienced setbacks in the east in Achin and Kot, in 2017, it made significant advances into Chaprarhar. This was notable due to the fact that IS-KP and the Taliban have fought for control over this district since 2015. On April 2, 2017, IS-KP captured nearly half of Chaprarhar in a coordinated offensive against the Taliban. Meanwhile, IS-KP retains control over most of the Nazyan and Deh Bala districts.[45] According to U.S. military estimates, the first tier of IS-KP leadership and 75% of its fighters have been killed since 2015.[46] Despite these setbacks, the group has proven its ability to remain active. In 2016, IS-KP killed over 800 people in more than 100 attacks.[47] Since then, IS-KP has showcased its ability to strike the Afghan state while enduring continuous airstrikes by the U.S. government. For example, in October of 2017 the U.S. and its Afghan military partners dropped 653 bombs and missiles on targets within Afghanistan.[48] The group has continued launching major assaults in Kabul, Heart, and Jalalabad in 2018, particularly on high-profile targets including voter registration centers and Shiite religious and cultural centers .In December of 2017, General Nicholson, Commander of U.S. and NATO troops in the region, claimed that another 1,600 IS-KP fighters had been removed from the battlefield, particularly in eastern Afghanistan.[49] Despite the loss of territory and continuous military assaults by the U.S. government and its Afghan allies, IS-KP has increased the scale and number of suicide bombings in Kabul, specifically on Shiite neighborhoods. U.S. experts estimate that IS-KP will continue to recruit militants, disseminate propaganda, and launch attacks on urban centers when possible.[50]

 


[1] Popalzai, Masoud, and Saleem Mehsud. “ISIS militant bomber on motorbike kills 33 at bank in Afghanistan.” CNN, 19 Apr. 2015, http://edition.cnn.com/2015/04/18/asia/afghanistan-violence/index.html.

[2] “Kabul Bombings: Journalists Targeted in Blast Which Killed 26.” BBC News, BBC, 30 Apr. 2018, www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-43946539

[3] Johnson, Casey Garret. “The Rise and Stall of the Islamic State in Afghanistan.” United States Institute of Peace: Special Report 395, 16 Nov, https://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/SR395-The-Rise-and-Stall-of-the....

[4] “Islamic State Khorasan Province. Australian National Security, n.d., https://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/I....

[5] Osman, Borhan. "The Islamic State in 'Khorasan': How it began and where it stands now in Nangarhar." Afghanistan Analysts Network, 27 July, 2016, https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/the-islamic-state-in-khorasan-how-it-began-and-where-it-stands-now-in-nangarhar/; Johnson, Casey Garret. “The Rise and Stall of the Islamic State in Afghanistan.” United States Institute of Peace: Special Report 395, 16 Nov, https://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/SR395-The-Rise-and-Stall-of-the-Islamic-State-in-Afghanistan.pdf.

[6] Osman, Borhan. “The Battle for Mamand: ISKP under strain, but not yet defeated.” Afghan Analysts Network, 23 May, 2017, https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/the-battle-for-mamand-iskp-under-st....

[7] Osman, Borhan. “The Battle for Mamand: ISKP under strain, but not yet defeated.” Afghan Analysts Network, 23 May, 2017, https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/the-battle-for-mamand-iskp-under-strain-but-not-yet-defeated/; Wright, Robin. “The Ignominious End of the ISIS Caliphate.” The New Yorker, 17, Oct. 2017. https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-ignominious-end-of-the-isis-caliphate.

[8] Osman, Borhan. “The Battle for Mamand: ISKP under strain, but not yet defeated.” Afghan Analysts Network, 23 May, 2017, https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/the-battle-for-mamand-iskp-under-st....

[9] Shah, Tayyab Ali. “Pakistan’s Challenges in Orkazai Agency.” Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point, 3 July, 2010, https://ctc.usma.edu/posts/pakistan%E2%80%99s-challenges-in-orakzai-agency; Osman, Borhan. “The Islamic State in ‘Khorasan’: How it began and where it stands now in Nangarhar.” Afghanistan Analysts Network, 27 July, 2016, https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/the-islamic-state-in-khorasan-how-it-began-and-where-it-stands-now-in-nangarhar/.

[10] Osman, Borhan. "The Islamic State in 'Khorasan': How it began and where it stands now in Nangarhar." Afghanistan Analysts Network, 27 July, 2016, <https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/the-islamic-state-in-khorasan-how-i....

[11] McNally, Lauren, Alex Amiral, Marvin Weinbaum, and Antoun Issa. “The Islamic State in Afghanistan: Examining Its Threat to Stability.” Middle East Institute Policy Focus Series 2016-11, May 2016, http://www.mei.edu/sites/default/files/publications/PF12_McNallyAmiral_ISISAfghan_web.pdf.

[12] Rassler, Don. “Situating the Emergence of the Islamic State of Khorasan.” Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point, 18 Mar. 2015. https://ctc.usma.edu/posts/situating-the-emergence-of-the-islamic-state-of-khorasan;  Johnson, Casey Garret. “The Rise and Stall of the Islamic State in Afghanistan.” United States Institute of Peace: Special Report 395, 16 Nov, https://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/SR395-The-Rise-and-Stall-of-the-Islamic-State-in-Afghanistan.pdf.

[13] McNally, Lauren, Alex Amiral, Marvin Weinbaum, and Antoun Issa. “The Islamic State in Afghanistan: Examining Its Threat to Stability.” Middle East Institute Policy Focus Series 2016-11, May 2016, http://www.mei.edu/sites/default/files/publications/PF12_McNallyAmiral_ISISAfghan_web.pdf.

[14] “Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost.” Counter Extremism Project, n.d., https://www.counterextremism.com/extremists/abdul-rahim-muslim-dost; Roggio, Bill. “Ex-Gitmo ‘poet’ and committed jihadist denounces Islamic State for attacks on civilians.” FDD’s Long War Journal, 20 July, 2016. https://www.longwarjournal.org/tags/abdul-rahim-muslim-dost.

[15] Johnson, Casey Garret. “The Rise and Stall of the Islamic State in Afghanistan.” United States Institute of Peace: Special Report 395, 16 Nov, https://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/SR395-The-Rise-and-Stall-of-the-Islamic-State-in-Afghanistan.pdf.

[16] McNally, Lauren, Alex Amiral, Marvin Weinbaum, and Antoun Issa. “The Islamic State in Afghanistan: Examining Its Threat to Stability.” Middle East Institute Policy Focus Series 2016-11, May 2016, http://www.mei.edu/sites/default/files/publications/PF12_McNallyAmiral_I....

[17] Rassler, Don. “Situating the Emergence of the Islamic State of Khorasan.” Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point, 18 Mar. 2015. https://ctc.usma.edu/posts/situating-the-emergence-of-the-islamic-state-of-khorasan; Shah, Tayyab Ali. “Pakistan’s Challenges in Orkazai Agency.” Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point, 3 July, 2010, https://ctc.usma.edu/posts/pakistan%E2%80%99s-challenges-in-orakzai-agency; “The Khyber Pass.” National Geographic, n.d., https://www.nationalgeographic.org/media/khyber-pass/.

[18] Rassler, Don. “Situating the Emergence of the Islamic State of Khorasan.” Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point, 18 Mar. 2015. https://ctc.usma.edu/posts/situating-the-emergence-of-the-islamic-state-of-khorasan.

[19] McNally, Lauren, Alex Amiral, Marvin Weinbaum, and Antoun Issa. “The Islamic State in Afghanistan: Examining Its Threat to Stability.” Middle East Institute Policy Focus Series 2016-11, May 2016, http://www.mei.edu/sites/default/files/publications/PF12_McNallyAmiral_ISISAfghan_web.pdf.

[20] McNally, Lauren, Alex Amiral, Marvin Weinbaum, and Antoun Issa. “The Islamic State in Afghanistan: Examining Its Threat to Stability.” Middle East Institute Policy Focus Series 2016-11, May 2016, http://www.mei.edu/sites/default/files/publications/PF12_McNallyAmiral_I...

[21] Pillalamarri, Akhilesh. “Revealed: Why ISIS Hates the Taliban.” The Diplomat, 29 Jan. 2016, https://thediplomat.com/2016/01/revealed-why-isis-hates-the-taliban/.

[22] Dawood, Azami. “Why Taliban special forces are fighting Islamic State.” BBC News, 18 Dec. 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35123748.

[23] Johnson, Casey Garret. “The Rise and Stall of the Islamic State in Afghanistan.” United States Institute of Peace: Special Report 395, 16 Nov, https://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/SR395-The-Rise-and-Stall-of-the-Islamic-State-in-Afghanistan.pdf.

[24] Johnson, Casey Garret. “The Rise and Stall of the Islamic State in Afghanistan.” United States Institute of Peace: Special Report 395, 16 Nov, https://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/SR395-The-Rise-and-Stall-of-the-Islamic-State-in-Afghanistan.pdf