IS Penetration in Afghanistan-Pakistan: Assessment, Impact and Implications

Abdul Basit


Since the inception of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, the jihadist landscape in Afghanistan and Pakistan (Af-Pak) has transformed subtly. IS has captured the imagination of the younger generation of jihadists in the two countries, triggering defections in the form of allegiances to the so-called caliphate. This has resulted in turf wars between IS and the Taliban-Al-Qaeda duo over recruitment, resources and the loyalties of the local militant groups. The Af-Pak jihadist groups have responded to IS efforts to penetrate the jihadist community with open rejection of the caliphate or its acceptance as well as adopting a hedging attitude. This article maps out IS presence in the two countries and its operational capabilities. IS has forged alliances with like-minded Sunni extremist groups and cultivated ideological constituency among the educated urban youth. This has complicated the militant landscape, contributed to the expansion of Sunni-Shia conflict and lowered the threshold of online radicalization.

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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