Who are Isis-K? Foreign affairs expert explains group suspected of Kabul airport attack

26 August 2021, 18:31

By Tim Dodd

Foreign affairs analyst Tim Marshall explains who the group thought to be behind suspected bombings at Kabul airport are, as a number of American and civilian casualties have been confirmed.

It comes amid one blast at Kabul airport's Abbey Gate, and a second which occured around the Baron Hotel where people are being processed for evacuation from Afghanistan.

Speaking to Eddie Mair, Mr Marshall reacted to the news: "It was predicted and it looks like it was predicted on the basis of intelligence. Two days ago President Biden said every day we're on the ground is another day we know Isis-K is seeking to target US allied forces and innocent civilians.

"No claim of responsibility yet, but there is no other group I can think of in Afghanistan at the moment, other than Isis-K, that would do this.

"Isis Khorasan is against most of the Taliban... they are an enemy of the Taliban umbrella branch."

Read more: Minister warns of possible Isis-K attack at Kabul airport within 'hours'

Eddie asked: "What do Isis Khorasan want?"

"Because Isis has been pushed out of northern Syria mostly and has lost a lot of ground in neighbouring Iraq, they need an ungovernable and ungoverned space," Mr Marshall replied.

"They went into Afghanistan in around 2016, which means they're competition for the Taliban, and they've been carrying out terrorist attacks since.

"There's only a few thousand of them, but they want to create another ungoverned space within which to build their emirate and project their violence.

"Isis Khorasan was formed out of renegade elements of the Pakistan Taliban and some of the Afghanistan Taliban, and consequently they do have links.

"The majority of the Taliban factions, and there are so many, will see this as a challenge and will go after them, but there will be others that are going to stand by them.

"But the Taliban cannot not respond to this, they have to go after them."

Read more: New Isis threat at Kabul airport as US tells citizens to avoid going unless instructed

Mr Marshall then said that many of the prisoners freed by the Taliban in recent weeks were Isis-K members, some of whom were told to "go on their way" and others who were killed.

"If we want to boil it down, it comes down to Isis-K is making its mark that they will not accept the Taliban rule and they will carry on," he said.

"And it will be part of a probable ongoing civil war in Afghanistan."

Read more: Pen Farthing 'targeted by gunmen' during Kabul airport attack

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