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What is Afghanistan’s Islamic State, which survived to carry out Kabul bombings?

10 29 1

AP — The Islamic State offshoot that claimed responsibility for Thursday’s deadly suicide attacks outside the Kabul airport coalesced in eastern Afghanistan six years ago, and rapidly grew into one of the more dangerous terror threats globally.

Despite years of military targeting by the US-led coalition, the group known as Islamic State Khorasan has survived to launch a massive new assault as the United States and other NATO partners withdraw from Afghanistan, and as the Taliban return to power.

US President Joe Biden cited the threat of Islamic State attacks in sticking with a Tuesday deadline for pulling US forces out of Afghanistan. Biden blamed the group for Thursday’s attacks, which included a suicide bomber who slipped into the crowds of Afghans outside airport gates controlled by US service members.

The group has built a record of highly lethal attacks in the face of its own heavy losses. Here is a look at a deadly group influencing the course of the Kabul airlifts and US actions:

The Islamic State’s Central Asia affiliate sprang up in the months after the group’s core fighters swept across Syria and Iraq, carving out a self-styled caliphate, or Islamic empire, in the summer of 2014. In Syria and Iraq, it took local and international forces five years of subsequent fighting to roll back the caliphate.

The Afghanistan affiliate takes its name from the Khorasan Province, a region that covered much of Afghanistan, Iran, and central Asia in the Middle Ages.

Islamic State (ISKP) released new photo report from Jawzjan, Afghanistan showing its fighters engaged in clashes with the Taliban. pic.twitter.com/NmfZlfMMDK

— FJ (@Natsecjeff) July 22, 2018

The group is also known as ISK or ISIS K.

Who are the Islamic State Khorasan’s fighters?

The group started as several hundred Pakistani Taliban........

© The Times of Israel

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