Latest report on terrorism released by the US backs Pakistan’s relentless call for the international community to recognize Afghanistan in the wake of prevalent threat of terror attacks from that country. The report states that the militant outfit Islamic State-Khorasan, also known as the IS-K, “is based in Afghanistan, conducts operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and is composed primarily of former members of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, the Afghan Taliban, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.” Islamabad has been warning the world that if the war-torn country is abandoned, terrorist groups like the IS-K will exploit the situation and may launch attacks on other countries from the Afghan soil. Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, they have targeted minority groups in the recent attacks that took place in the neighbouring country.
Reports of beleaguered Afghans joining the banned group in exchange for money have also been doing rounds on social media. During the 17th Extraordinary Session of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Council of Foreign Ministers held in Islamabad recently, Prime Minister Imran Khan had also mentioned that the IS-K is based in Afghanistan. His speech was met with criticism from the former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who had alleged that the IS-K was instead operating from this country. The recent report then acts as evidence of a threat Islamabad has been warning against.
It must be noted that the Islamic State originated from Iraq in 1999, following an earlier invasion of that country by Western forces. It then spread to Syria where another flawed war led by the US had killed thousands of non-combatants. More recently in August, US forces had killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan in a drone strike during its final days of exit. It said it had intelligence of a possible IS attack on its forces and ‘launched a missile from a drone at a target that was thought to be a car laden with munitions’. Despite the post-attack findings, Pentagon stated that no US troops or officials would face disciplinary action. It is then safe to assume that poverty-stricken Afghans if abandoned can be pushed to join the ranks of the IS-K, which would pose as a threat to the entire world. The international community should not only work towards infusing liquidity into Afghanistan but also actively work towards nation-building.
As for Pakistan, it must push the Taliban to come true on its promise to take actions against terrorist outfits operating from Afghanistan. The fact that the group also has former members of the TTP – the very outfit Islamabad is in talks with – is a cause of concern.