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Islamic State in Afghanistan: Will Kabul be the Next IS Capital?

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Analysts claim that the Islamic State in Afghanistan has been aided by the common and middle-class people in Afghanistan who have endorsed the extreme form of barbarity. In just over one and a half years, more than twenty attacks have been carried out by the Islamic State in Afghanistan. An analyst from Wilson Center said that the Islamic State in Afghanistan is quite active and staging high-visibility attacks with a very high casualty rate.

The Emergence of Islamic State in Afghanistan

The Islamic State-Khorasan Province (IS-K) which emerged in 2014 claimed its first attack in Kabul during the summer of 2016. Since then the group has carried out several attacks on security forces and Shiites. A senior analyst from the International Crisis Group, Borhan Osman, says that a generation has been desensitized to acts of violence and violent extremism. He adds that the members and supporters of the IS cells in the area are known to be living with their families and being out in the public every day.

Read: Who Funds and Trains the Islamic State or ISIS?

The militants reportedly meet in the night for discussions on jihad and next attacks on targets in the city that they know well. A western diplomat added that the jihadists have adopted an adaptive structure as a reaction to the counter-measures. There are reportedly ’20 or more’ IS-K cells operating from within the city of Kabul.

Islamic State in Afghanistan: Not all are Poor and Uneducated

Osman said the ranks among the IS-K fighters were being interchanged following new recruitment drives on social media, schools, universities, and mosques. He added that it cannot be said they are all poor as some come from middle-class families while others are even educated. While the head of US Forces-Afghanistan Gen John Nicholson has vowed to hunt down the militants, analysts claim that the strategy has not worked in destroying the Islamic State. They further add that the strategy may have even pushed more people from Kabul towards joining the group.

Read: What is in Store for ISIL?

There has been a rise in a general fear that Afghanistan could soon become the new base for IS fighters from Syria and Iraq. Vanda Felbab-Brown from Brookings Institution said that she was ‘waiting’ for an attack on a Sunni mosque as the ‘real game’ is to provoke Sunnis against Shiites.

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