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Tackling The Islamic States

The Islamic State – Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), an affiliate of the Islamic State active in South and Central Asia, has strongly criticised the Afghan Taliban for supporting China on the repression of the Uyghurs.

The Taliban recently called the genocide of Uyghur Muslims an internal matter of China. In the first week of February 2022, the Afghan branch of ISIS-K issued a statement, saying that the Taliban made an anti-Islamic move by supporting the genocide in the north-western Chinese Province of Xinjiang. Meanwhile, The Voice of Khorasan magazine has claimed that Iran and Russia, too, are carrying out similar genocides. As per the mouthpiece of the ISIS-K, the Taliban is backing the genocide of Uyghurs in an attempt to gain global recognition! The terror outfit has also been accused of keeping in touch with anti-Muslim countries.

The Taliban-China friendship

The ancient Khorasan region consisted of present-day Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and parts of Uzbekistan. The Afghan branch of IS considers this region as its own. The ISIS-K has carried out a number of terror attacks in different parts of Afghanistan in the last couple of years, apart from triggering suicide attacks at Kabul Airport, and also at several Taliban bases in 2021. Like the ISIS, the main goal of the ISIS-K is to re-establish the Khilafat (or the Caliphate Rule).

Hafiz Saeed Khan (1972 – July 26, 2016), the leader of Pakistani Taliban, had formed the ISIS-K in 2014. Khan, a follower of ISIS Chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (July 28, 1971 – October 27, 2019), was killed in a US airstrike in 2016. ISIS-K set up its bases in ISIL bases in north-east Afghan Provinces of Nangarhar, Nuristan, and Kunar, bordering Pakistan. They also have camps in several towns of Nangarhar, including the capital city of Jalalabad. Both the US and the Taliban carried out drone attacks in those regions to destroy the ISIS-K. Incidentally, ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi died in a US counterterrorism operation in Idlib Province of Syria on February 2 mid-night. Soon after his demise, the ISIS-K warned the Afghan Taliban to snap ties with China.

Defence experts are of the opinion that the Afghan Taliban’s close proximity with Beijing has irked the ISIS-K, triggering a fresh crisis for the common Afghan people. The political situation in the war-torn South Asian nation is constantly deteriorating because of the tussle between the two terror outfits. The friendship between Pakistan and China, too, has made the situation complicated, with both the Taliban and the ISIS-K maintaining cordial ties with Islamabad. It may be noted that Pakistan has also maintained silence over the Uyghur issue.

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