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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Afghanistan’s Terrorism Challenge: The Political Trajectories of al-Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, and the Islamic State

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  • For example, U.S. ambassador-nominate for Afghanistan William Ruger argues: “… We actually accomplished the goals [in Afghanistan] we needed to. And I think sometimes we forget that in the midst of this discussion about us withdrawing. United States needed to do three things after 9/11. We needed to attrite al-Qaeda, really decimate it, as a terrorist organization that had the capability to harm us. Second, we needed to kill or capture Osama Bin Laden and we did that. Third we needed to punish the Taliban severely enough that they wouldn’t want to support terrorist organizations that had the intent and capability to hit us. And I think the United States accomplished all three of those goals, so that is one of the reasons it is in our interest to withdraw.” “William Ruger discusses the signed U.S.-Taliban agreement to withdraw troops from Afghanistan on WTIC’s Mornings with Ray Dunaway,” Ray Dunaway and William Ruger, Mornings, CATO Institute, Mar 2, 2020, https://www.cato.org/multimedia/media-highlights-radio/william-ruger-di….

  • A prominent voice in this camp is former National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who argues: “[The Afghan Taliban are] trying to establish these emirates. … And then stitch these emirates together into a caliphate in which they force people to live under their brutal regime and then export terror to attack their near enemies, Arab states, Israel, and the far enemies, Europe and the United States.” See: Kyler Rempfer, “H.R. McMaster Says the Public is Fed a ‘War-weariness’ Narrative That Hurts US Strategy,” Military Times, May 8, 2019, https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-army/2019/05/08/hr-mcmaster-say….

  • Julia Musto, “Pompeo: Al Qaeda a ‘Shadow’ of Its Former Self, Time to ‘Turn the Corner’ in Afghanistan,” Fox News, Mar 6, 2020, https://www.foxnews.com/media/sec-pompeo-al-qaeda-a-shell-of-its-former….

  • On the relationship breaking, Analyst Borhan Osman argues: “After hundreds of conversations with Taliban figures, I concluded that both the pragmatists and the former champions of Osama bin Laden within the Taliban have grown weary of Al Qaeda and its ideology.” See: Borhan Osmani, “Why a Deal With the Taliban Will Prevent Attacks on America,” the New York Times, Feb 7, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/07/opinion/afghanistan-peace-talks-tali…; on the relationship enduring, Carter Malkasian, former senior advisor to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, argues: “Over the years, former and current Taliban members have admitted to me that they think of al Qaeda as a friend and feel they should not be asked to turn on it.” See: Carter Malkasian, “What a Withdrawal From Afghanistan Would Look Like,” Foreign Affairs, Oct 21, 2019, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/afghanistan/2019-10-21/what-wit….

  • For a review of this concern, see Andrew Watkins, “Taliban Fragmentation: Fact, Fiction, and Future,” United States Institute of Peace, https://www.usip.org/publications/2020/03/taliban-fragmentation-fact-fi….

  • See, for example, Amir Jadoon and Andrew Mines, “Broken, but Not Defeated: An Examination of State-Led Operations Against Islamic State Khorasan in Afghanistan and Pakistan (2015-2018).” CTC West Point, 2020, https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/AD1100984.pdf.

  • Elizabeth Threlkeld, “Reading Between the Lines of Afghan Agreements,” Lawfare, Mar 8, 2020, https://www.lawfareblog.com/reading-between-lines-afghan-agreements.

  • Anne Stenersen, Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 126-128. On al-Qaeda’s payment to the Taliban, see declassified U.S. government report: “Terrorism: Amount of Money It Takes to Keep al-Qa’ida Functioning,” August 7, 2002, Central Intelligence Agency Analytic Report, https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/368986-2002-08-07-terrorism-amo….

  • Anne Stenersen, “Thirty Years After Its Foundation – Where is al-Qaeda Going?,” Perspectives on Terrorism, Terrorism Research Initiative, 2017, http://www.terrorismanalysts.com/pt/index.php/pot/article/view/653/html.

  • Aimen Dean, Paul Cruickshank, and Tim Lister. Nine Lives: My Time As MI6’s Top Spy Inside Al-Qaeda (New York City, Simon and Schuster, 2018), 2013. On Abu Khabab al-Masri, who operated the cell, see: Souad Mekhennet and Greg Miller, “Bloodline,” Washington Post, August 5, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2016/08/05/bombmaker.

  • For a cost-benefit analysis of al-Qaeda’s ties for the Taliban, see: Tricia Bacon, “Deadly Cooperation: The Shifting Ties Between Al-Qaeda and the Taliban,” War on The Rocks, September 11, 2018, https://warontherocks.com/2018/09/deadly-cooperation-the-shifting-ties-….

  • See: Syed Saleem Shehzad, “Osama Adds Weight to Afghan Resistance,” Asia Times Online, September 11, 2004; Syed Saleem Shehzad, “Taliban Lay Plans for Islamic Intifada,” Asia Times Online, Oct 5, 2006. Also see un-dated letter in the ODNI’s Bin Ladin bookshelf titled “Situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan”: https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ubl/english/Summary%20on%20situatio….

  • On al-Qaeda’s base in Waziristan, see: Asfandyar Mir, “What Explains Counterterrorism Effectiveness? Evidence from the U.S. Drone War in Pakistan,” International Security 43, no. 2 (Fall 2018), pp. 45–83, doi:10.1162/ISEC_a_00331.

  • On the Kunar-based al-Qaeda organization, see: Wesley Morgan, “Al-Qaeda Leader U.S. Targeted in Afghanistan Kept a Low Profile but Worried Top Spies,” the Washington Post, October 28, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/10/28/al-qaeda-l….

  • For example, see: Seventeenth Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team Submitted Pursuant to Resolution 2161 (2014) Concerning Al-Qaeda and Associated Individuals and Entities, United Nations Security Council, June 16, 2015. https://www.undocs.org/S/2015/441.

  • “Video Interview with Commander Mujahid Mullah Dadullah,” As Sahab Media, December 27, 2006, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Jihadist-News/site-institute-12-27-06-sa….

  • “Sirajuddin Haqqani Interviewed on Jihad in Afghanistan, Palestinian Cause,” Ansar al-Mujahidin Network, April 27, 2010.

  • See, for example, the interview of Mullah Abdul Jalil in which he distances the Taliban from transnational operations; see: Syed Saleem Shehzad, “Secrets of the Taliban’s Success,” Asia Times Online, September 10, 2008.

  • On Bay’ah, see: “Al-Qaeda’s Zawahiri pledges allegiance to Taliban head,” Al Jazeera, August 13, 2015, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/08/13/al-qaedas-zawahiri-pledges-al….

  • Cole Bunzel, “Jihadi Reactions to the U.S.-Taliban Deal and Afghan Peace Talks,” Jihadica, September 23, 2020, https://www.jihadica.com/jihadi-reactions-to-the-u-s-taliban-deal-and-a….

  • Seventeenth Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team Submitted Pursuant to Resolution 2161 (2014) Concerning Al-Qaeda and Associated Individuals and Entities.

  • Jadoon and Mines. “Broken, but Not Defeated.”

  • Ibid.

  • Musto, “Pompeo: Al Qaeda a ‘shadow’ of its former self, time to ‘turn the corner’ in Afghanistan.”

  • Daniel Byman, “Does Al Qaeda Have a Future?,” The Washington Quarterly 42, no. 3 (2020), pp. 65-75, doi:10.1080/0163660X.2019.1663117.

  • “Al-Qaeda Central Celebrates Taliban-U.S. Agreement as Enemy Acknowledging its Defeat,” SITE Intelligence Group, March 12, 2020, https://news.siteintelgroup.com/Jihadist-News/al-qaeda-central-celebrat….

  • “CENTCOM and the Shifting Sands of the Middle East: A Conversation with CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr,” Middle East Institute, June 10, 2020, https://www.mei.edu/events/centcom-and-shifting-sands-middle-east-conve…; There are indications that the U.S. government has been soliciting tips on Zawahiri’s location in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Paktika. See: Asfandyar Mir, “Where is Ayman al-Zawahiri?,” Medium, June 2020, https://medium.com/@asfandyarmir/where-is-ayman-al-zawahiri-fb37e459c6a9.

  • Eleventh Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team Submitted Pursuant to Resolution 2501 (2019) Concerning the Taliban and Other Associated Individuals and Entities Constituting a Threat to the Peace, Stability and Security of Afghanistan, New York City: United Nations Security Council, May 27, 2020, https://www.undocs.org/S/2020/415.

  • According to the U.N., major Al-Qaeda leaders who remain in Afghanistan and interact with the Taliban include Ahmad al-Qatari, Sheikh Abdul Rahman, Hassan Mesri aka Abdul Rauf, and Abu Osman. See: Eleventh Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team Submitted Pursuant to Resolution 2501 (2019) Concerning the Taliban and Other Associated Individuals and Entities Constituting a Threat to the Peace, Stability and Security of Afghanistan. Abdul Rauf maybe a reference to senior al-Qaeda leader Husam Abd-al-Rauf. For details, see: “Husam Abd-al-Ra’uf,” Federal Bureau of Investigation, https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/wanted_terrorists/husam-abd-al-rauf.

  • Seventeenth Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team Submitted Pursuant to Resolution 2161 (2014) Concerning Al-Qaeda and Associated Individuals and Entities.

  • Mir, “What Explains Counterterrorism Effectiveness?”; also see: Asfandyar Mir and Dylan Moore, “Drones, Surveillance, and Violence: Theory and Evidence from a US Drone Program,” International Studies Quarterly, 63, no. 4 (December 2019), pp. 846–862, doi:10.1093/isq/sqz040.

  • On TTP’s reunification and the al-Qaeda units which have joined TTP, see Daud Khattak, “Whither the Pakistani Taliban: An Assessment of Recent Trends,” New America, Aug 31, 2020, https://www.newamerica.org/international-security/blog/whither-pakistan….

  • According to the U.S. Treasury, ETIM chief Abdul Haq is on al-Qaeda’s Shura Council. See: “Treasury Targets Leader of Group Tied to Al Qaeda,” U.S. Department of Treasury, April 20, 2009. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg92.aspx; On ETIM’s alignment with al-Qaeda, see: Thomas Joscelyn and Caleb Weiss, “Turkistan Islamic Party Head Decries Chinese Occupation,” Long War Journal, March 18, 2019, https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2019/03/turkistan-islamic-party….

  • Oran Botobekov, “Why Central Asian Jihadists are Inspired by the US-Taliban Agreement?,” Modern Diplomacy, April 8, 2020, https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2020/04/08/why-central-asian-jihadists-are-i….

  • Given the opaqueness of sourcing, some analysts point to inherent limits to the U.N. monitoring teams’ claims. See, for example, Borhan Osman, Twitter post, July 29, 2020, https://twitter.com/Borhan/status/1288372532136087552?s=20. The U.N.’s claims remain challenging to independently verify but despite limitations the U.N.’s reporting on al-Qaeda is useful for two reasons. One, it reports on the same topic twice a year through one committee (ISIL (Da’esh) & Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee) and once a year through another committee (1988 Afghanistan sanctions committee), which allows for over time comparisons and identifications of discrepancies with public record. Second, the reporting appears to collate information on major analytic points from more than one U.N. member state; major deviations between member state reporting are likely to be reflected. Thus the reporting needs to be taken seriously but also appropriately caveated.

  • Twenty-sixth Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team Submitted Pursuant to Resolution 2368 (2017) Concerning ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaeda and Associated Individuals and Entities, New York City: United Nations Security Council, July 23, 2020, https://undocs.org/S/2020/717.

  • See: Eleventh Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team Submitted Pursuant to Resolution 2501 (2019) Concerning the Taliban and Other Associated Individuals and Entities Constituting a Threat to the Peace, Stability and Security of Afghanistan.

  • Asfandyar Mir, “Al-Qaeda’s Continuing Challenge to the United States,” Lawfare, September 8, 2019, https://www.lawfareblog.com/al-qaedas-continuing-challenge-united-states; On Abu Khabab al-Masri’s other son, see: Mekhennet and Miller, “Bloodline.” Until 2017, this cell was being reportedly run by Luqman Khubab, AQIS leader Omar bin Khatab, and had assistance of some personnel of the TTP. On U.S. government concerns regarding CRBN materials and dirty-bomb in Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, see Joby Warrick, The Triple Agent: The Al-Qaeda Mole Who Infiltrated the CIA, (New York City, Anchor, 2012), 64.

  • Country Reports on Terrorism 2017, Washington D.C.: United States Department of State, September 2018, https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/crt_2017.pdf.

  • Operation Freedom’s Sentinel Lead Inspector General Report to the United States Congress, Arlington: United States Department for Defense Inspector General, July 1, 2019‒September 30, 2019, https://media.defense.gov/2019/Nov/20/2002214020/-1/-1/1/Q4FY2019_LEADI….

  • Colin F Jackson, Written Testimony of Dr. Colin F. Jackson to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Washington D.C.: United States Senate, February 11, 2020, https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Jackson_02-11-20.pdf.

  • According to the author’s calculation with analyst Abdul Sayed, in 2019, AQIS released around 21 media products which contain calls for attacks against the United States; this was up from 5 such media products in 2018 and only 1 product in 2017.

  • India remains concerned about a number of terrorist groups who operate in Kashmir using Afghan soil. They include and are not limited to AQIS, Jaish-e-Mohammad, and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

  • On the importance of the code of conduct, see: Tore Refslund Hamming, Jihadists’ Code of Conduct In The Era Of ISIS, Washington D.C.: Middle East Institute, April 2019, https://www.mei.edu/sites/default/files/2019-04/Tore_Jihadi_Code_of_Con….

  • Twenty-sixth Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team Submitted Pursuant to Resolution 2368 (2017) Concerning ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaeda and Associated Individuals and Entities.

  • On al-Qaeda’s earlier doctrine and strategic plan for a jihadist takeover of Pakistan through support of groups like the TTP, see un-dated letter in the ODNI’s Bin Ladin bookshelf titled “Jihad in Pakistan”: https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ubl2016/english/Jihad%20in%20Pakist….

  • Despite historical ties between al-Qaeda and Pakistan-backed Kashmiri jihadists, a broad-reaching political alliance maybe challenging as al-Qaeda has repeatedly condemned these groups for their subordination to Pakistani military and suspects them of providing targeting information on al-Qaeda leaders to Pakistan. Al-Qaeda’s senior Pakistani leadership also wrote to Bin Ladin about plans to take control of the “jihad” in Kashmir and away from Pakistan-backed jihadists. See untitled letter in the ODNI Bin Ladin bookshelf dated May 31, 2010: https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ubl2017/english/Letter%20to%20Usama…. At the same time, operational considerations could shape such an arrangement, which is reported to have existed between parts of al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba for the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. Thomas Joscelyn, “Report: Osama bin Laden Helped Plan Mumbai Attacks,” Long War Journal, April 5, 2012, https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/04/report_osama_bin_lad_2….

  • For example, in 2019, senior al-Qaeda leader and chief of AQIS (according to the U.N.) Usama Mehmood published an essay in al-Qaeda’s magazine Hitteen calling for attacks against the Chinese assets and infrastructure in Pakistan.

  • Threlkeld, “Reading Between the Lines of Afghan Agreements.”

  • “CENTCOM and the Shifting Sands of the Middle East: A Conversation with CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr.”

  • Some analysts are skeptical of the United Nations sourcing on this information. See: Anne Stenersen, Twitter post, September 11, 2020, 2:42 a.m., https://twitter.com/annestenersen/status/1304324386699259904?s=20.

  • Franz Marty, “The Taliban Say They Have No Foreign Fighters. Is That True?,” The Diplomat, Aug 10, 2020, https://thediplomat.com/2020/08/the-taliban-say-they-have-no-foreign-fi….

  • Stenerson, Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, 52.

  • Bruce Riedel, “The U.N. exposes the limits of the Trump peace plan with the Taliban,” Brookings Institution, June 8, 2020. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2020/06/08/the-u-n-expo….

  • Stefanie Glinski, “Resurgent Taliban Bode Ill for Afghan Peace,” Foreign Policy, July 7, 2020, https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/07/07/taliban-al-qaeda-afghanistan-unite….

  • For an example of how some political actors sort who to align and who to repress based on ideology, see: Paul Staniland, Asfandyar Mir, and Sameer Lalwani, “Politics and Threat Perception: Explaining Pakistani Military Strategy on the North West Frontier,” Security Studies 27, no. 4 (2018), pp. 535-574, DOI: 10.1080/09636412.2018.1483160/.

  • Thomas Joscelyn, “Analysis: AQAP’s New Emir Reaffirms Allegiance to Zawahiri, Praises Taliban,” Long War Journal, Mar 23, 2020, https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2020/03/analysis-aqaps-new-emir…; Thomas Joscelyn and Bill Roggio, “Taliban rejects peace talks, emphasizes alliance with al Qaeda in new video,” Long War Journal, Dec 9, 2016, https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2016/12/taliban-rejects-peace-t….

  • “Taking Stock of the Taliban’s Perspectives on Peace,” International Crisis Group, Aug 11, 2020, https://d2071andvip0wj.cloudfront.net/311-taking-stock-of-taliban-persp….

  • Borhan Osman, “AAN Q&A: Taleban Leader Hebatullah’s New Treatise on Jihad,” Afghanistan Analysis Network, July 15, 2017, https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/en/reports/war-and-peace/aan-qa-ta….

  • Ibid.

  • Jack Moore, “Al-Qaeda’s Zawahiri Calls on Supporters to Reject ISIS and Support Taliban,” Newsweek, August 22, 2016, https://www.newsweek.com/al-qaedas-zawahiri-calls-supporters-reject-isi….

  • For a profile of Sadr Ibrahim which situates his status in al-Qaeda, see: Fazelminallah Qazizai, “The Man Who Drove the US Out of Afghanistan,” Asia Times Online, July 26, 2020, https://asiatimes.com/2020/07/the-man-who-drove-the-us-out-of-afghanist….

  • “The Haqqani History: Bin Ladin’s Advocate Inside the Taliban,” The National Security Archive, September 11, 2012, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB389.

  • On pre-9/11 opposition to al-Qaeda, see Stenerson, Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, 84.

  • Osmani, “Why a Deal With the Taliban Will Prevent Attacks on America.”

  • There are reports that the Afghan Taliban have started a process of registering armed groups with foreign fighters in Afghanistan; as part of this process, they have also provided them with a code of conduct for continued presence inside Afghanistan. See: Paktﻯawal, Twitter post, September 14, 2020, 12:40 a.m., https://twitter.com/Paktyaw4l/status/1305380955197247488?s=20.

  • Antonio Giustozzi, “Do the Taliban Have Any Appetite for Reconciliation with Kabul?,” Center for Research and Policy Analysis, Mar 19, 2018, www.crpaweb.org/single-post/2018/03/20/Do-the-Taliban-Have-any-Appetite….; Farzad Ramezani Bonesh, “Factors Affecting Divisions Among Afghan Taliban,” Asia Times Online, May 22, 2020, https://asiatimes.com/2020/05/factors-affecting-divisions-among-afghan-….

  • Some speculate that the Islamic State has positioned itself to absorb fragmenting factions of the Taliban in the event the terms of a peace deal are not acceptable to a major faction. See: Mujib Mashal, “As Taliban Talk Peace, ISIS is Ready to Play the Spoiler in Afghanistan,” The New York Times, Aug 20, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/world/asia/isis-afghanistan-peace.ht….

  • On the 2018 cease-fire, see: Pamela Constable, “Afghanistan Extends Cease-fire With Taliban as Fighters Celebrate Eid with Civilians,” Washington Post, June 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/afghan-government-ext…; on the 2020 ceasefire, see: “Afghanistan Truce Successful So Far, US Ready to Sign Peace Deal With Taliban,” Los Angeles Times, Feb 28, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-02-28/la-fg-afghanistan….

  • According to CENTCOM chief Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, “They have scrupulously avoided attacking U.S. and coalition forces, but the attacks continue against the Afghan government forces and at a far too high level.” See: “General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr. Interview With NPR During a Recent Tour of The Region,” July 16, 2020, https://www.centcom.mil/MEDIA/Transcripts/Article/2280303/general-kenne….

  • Paul Staniland, Networks of Rebellion: Explaining Insurgent Cohesion and Collapse, (Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 2014).

  • For a comprehensive overview of Taliban’s internal structure, see: Ashley Jackson and Rahmatullah Amiri, “Insurgent Bureaucracy: How the Taliban Makes Policy,” United States Institute of Peace, November 2019, https://www.usip.org/index.php/publications/2019/11/insurgent-bureaucra….

  • On centrality of socialization to maintain internal order, see: Jackson and Amiri, “Insurgent Bureaucracy”; on socialization instruments, see: Kate Clark, “The Layha: Calling the Taleban to Account,” Afghanistan Analysts Network, July 4, 2011, www.afghanistan-analysts.org/en/special-reports/the-layha-calling-the-t….

  • “Taking Stock of the Taliban’s Perspectives on Peace.”

  • On politics of the appointment of the deputies, see: Borhan Osman, “Taleban in Transition 2: Who Is in Charge Now?,” Afghanistan Analysts Network, June 22, 2016, https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/en/reports/war-and-peace/taleban-i….

  • Ibid.

  • For example, Taliban chief Mullah Mansoor Akhtar sidelined Abdul Qayum Zakir and elevated Mullah Omar’s son Mullah Yaqoob, who enjoyed standing for being the son of Omar, to the Rahbari Shura. On the politics surrounding sidelining of Zakir and elevation of Yaqoob, see: Hekmatullah Azamy and Abubakar Siddique, “Taliban Reach Out to Iran,” Terrorism Monitor 13, no. 12 (June 12, 2015), https://jamestown.org/program/taliban-reach-out-to-iran.

  • On Taliban’s willingness to use violence, see: Matthew Dupée, “Red on Red: Analyzing Afghanistan’s Intra-Insurgency Violence,” Combating Terrorism Center Sentinel 11, no. 1 (January 2018), https://ctc.usma.edu/red-red-analyzing-afghanistans-intra-insurgency-vi….

  • For example, Pakistan arrested dissident commander Mullah Rasool in 2016: Ahmad Shah Ghani Zada, “Mysterious Arrest of Taliban Supreme Leader’s Arch Rival in Pakistan,” Khaama, Mar 22, 2016, https://www.khaama.com/tag/pakistan-arrests-mullah-rasool.

  • Jadoon and Mines, “Broken, but Not Defeated.” On strength of fighters and pressures leading to decline, see: Twenty-sixth Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team Submitted Pursuant to Resolution 2368 (2017) Concerning ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaeda and Associated Individuals and Entities.

  • “Key Daesh Member Abdullah Orakzai Killed in Govt Forces Operation,” Tolo News, Aug 18, 2020, https://tolonews.com/afghanistan/key-daesh-member-abdullah-orakzai-kill….

  • Borhan Osman, “Bourgeois Jihad: Why Young, Middle-Class Afghans Join the Islamic State,” United States Institute of Peace, June 1, 2020, https://www.usip.org/publications/2020/06/bourgeois-jihad-why-young-mid….

  • For example, famous Hizb-e-Islami commander Amanullah joined ISKP but recently defected and joined the Taliban. See: Takal, “(له اسلامي امارت سره پيوستون (۲)) ویډيويي راپور نشر شو,” Alemarah, June 22, 2020, http://www.alemarahvideo.org/?p=6200.

  • For example, after the August attack on Nangarhar prison, Afghanistan’s Minister for Interior said: “Haqqani and the Taliban carry out their terrorism on a daily basis across Afghanistan, and when their terrorist activities do not suit them politically, they rebrand it under I.S.K.P.” Zabihullah Ghazi and Mujib Mashal, “29 Dead After ISIS Attack on Afghan Prison,” the New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/03/world/asia/afghanistan-prison-isis-t….

  • Osman, “Bourgeois Jihad.” Also see: Sands and Qazizai, Night Letters.

  • Mashal, “As Taliban Talk Peace, ISIS Is Ready to Play the Spoiler in Afghanistan.”

  • Abdul Sayed, “Who Is the New Leader of Islamic State-Khorasan Province?,” Lawfare, September 2, 2020, https://www.lawfareblog.com/who-new-leader-islamic-state-khorasan-provi….

  • Ghazi and Mujib Mashal, “29 Dead After ISIS Attack on Afghan Prison.”

  • Cover photo: Smoke rises from the site of an attack after a massive explosion the night before near the Green Village in Kabul on September 3, 2019. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

    Contents photo: Afghan security forces inspect the scene after gunmen attack the Medicins Sans Frontieres clinic in Dasht-e-Barchi region of Kabul, Afghanistan, on May 12, 2020. (Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaks during a news conference at the State Department, on July 1, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANNY CENETA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

    Afghan Taliban fighters and villagers attend a gathering as they celebrate the peace deal signed between the U.S. and Taliban in Laghman Province, Alingar district on March 2, 2020. (Photo by Wali Sabawoon/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

    Members of Islamic State stand alongside their weapons, following their surrender to the Afghan government in Jalalabad, Nangarhar Province, on November 17, 2019. (Photo by NOORULLAH SHIRZADA/AFP via Getty Images)

    I am thankful to Charles Lister, Abdul Sayed, Alistair Taylor, and Andrew Watkins for their assistance with this report.

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