"Taliban Rule Strengthening the Islamic State in Afghanistan"
The Taliban's rise to power in Afghanistan has led to a strengthening of the Islamic State's Khorasan Province (ISKP or ISIS-K) in the country. Despite claims of ISKP's destruction by the Afghan government and the Taliban, the group continues to pose a serious threat with deadly attacks like the January 11 suicide bombing near the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan (MFA) in Kabul.
The exact number of ISKP fighters in Afghanistan is difficult to estimate, but Western and international sources have put the number at around 1,500-2,200 fighters. The Taliban's release of ISKP fighters from prison and their strengthening recruitment program from villages and former Afghan state forces has only added to the problem.
Terrorism has increased in Afghanistan since the Taliban's ascent to power, with the country ranking first in the number of deaths caused by terrorism in 2021-2022. Some Taliban leaders are even using the threat of ISKP to secure concessions from neighboring and Western governments.
Afghanistan's economy is heading towards collapse, with poverty and unemployment exposing the country to the risk of ISKP growth. If the Taliban refuse to form an inclusive government, it could lead to a civil war, creating a power vacuum that ISKP could take advantage of.
ISKP has strengthened its media arm and is actively trying to create divisions among Taliban supporters, taking advantage of moderate-extremist tensions and competition. The group is also trying to promote the caliphate as a saving vision by disseminating propaganda in multiple languages.
In conclusion, the Taliban rule in Afghanistan could lead to a strengthening of the Islamic State and the continuation of terrorism in the country. Unless the Taliban take decisive action against ISKP and work towards forming an inclusive government, Afghanistan is at risk of falling into further chaos.