The Islamic State in Afghanistan and the surrounding region released its first English-language magazine online, declaring that theirs is the “most important province” of ISIS after Iraq and Syria.
Much of the 37-page Voice of Khurasan inaugural issue, released by Islamic State Wilayah Khorasan’s Al-Azaim Media Foundation, is dedicated to criticizing the Taliban, calling them the “apostate slave organization of the ISI” in Pakistan while laying out conditions under which they could be allies, and trying to lure both local and foreign fighters to join ISIS.
The magazine, which praised the recent ISIS attack on Ghweran prison in Syria and told other ISIS prisoners “we shall come for you,” was released shortly before ISIS core leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was killed during a U.S. raid last week on his Syria hideout and reverently references his predecessor, late ISIS caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
While vowing that “the fighting has just begun” in theirs and other territories that ISIS claims as provinces, the magazine said it was launching a series of profiles of jihadists in order to “incite our believers.”
The first profile focuses on Abdul Rahman al-Logari, who killed 13 U.S. service members and 170 Afghan civilians when he detonated a suicide bomb on Aug. 26 within the crowds rushing to flee the country gathered outside Hamid Karzai International Airport. ISIS said he was born in Pakistan in 1996 to a wealthy Afghan family, was fluent in English and went to college in Islamabad where “he had chosen journalism as a career path.” The group said he fell in with the newly formed ISKP chapter in 2016 after moving to Afghanistan, and was active in recruiting foreign fighters to ISIS’ former caliphate in Iraq and Syria via social media operations. He also trained in bomb-making, and was previously supposed to be a suicide bomber “a few times” but those operations were canceled “due to various reasons.”
The magazine states that al-Logari enrolled at a university in New Delhi in 2017 as “cover up for his mission” to conduct an attack in India but was arrested a week before the planned date. He was sent back to Afghanistan and sentenced to five years behind bars, and ISIS Khorasan praised him for resisting “extreme pressure” from his family to deradicalize. He was housed with other ISIS members in prison and contracted tuberculosis while incarcerated, ISIS said, and was moved to Bagram “on the request of the CIA” to be interrogated about ISIS attacks in Kabul. He was broken out of prison on Aug. 15, 2021, and “directly requested to be given a mission” to conduct a suicide attack, the magazine said, and detonated his bomb outside Kabul International Airport when a U.S. service member was about to check him for explosives.
The magazine furthers the long-running ISIS narrative that the loss of the group’s claimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria is “temporary,” adding that “although we lost the Khilafah territory and thousands of Mujahideen were martyred in a period of 5 years, there is no problem.”
“In the present situation, we consider ourselves stronger and more active than before,” the terror group states. “…We are engaged in our preparations and we are going to take our account from the infidels and apostates especially the polytheistic, grave-worshipping apostate Taliban.”
However, ISIS tells the Taliban in the article that they will “become our brother” if they “desist from your deeds, declare yourself free from infidel democratic system, free your necks from slavery of infidels and ISI, repent from infidel beliefs, innovations and other superstitions,” release prisoners and “acknowledge the sovereignty of one God alone.”
“We will live and die together; we will give priority to you in every matter,” ISIS Khorasan said. “If you do not desist and do not obey us, then know that the time of oppression is fixed… then neither the aid of America nor the patronage of ISI will do you any good.”
The magazine continued to declare that “even though our territories have been taken away from us” ISIS is still “engaged” in jihad as “we are East Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, Libya, Sinai and other countries including the Philippines are moving very fast and our numbers and strength are increasing day by day.”
It then encouraged all Muslims in Afghanistan to “play our role” in establishing the ISIS caliphate in the region, “declaring freedom from all false systems and their followers and free from all kinds of national, patriotic, linguistic, regional and organizational prejudices” to “bring this spring of Khliafah back to Khorasan.”
This call was directly followed by an article simply titled “charity,” “extracted” from the first volume of ISIS’ now-defunct Rumiyah magazine, beseeching others to do “jihad using one’s wealth” because cash is “used initially in order to prepare equipment and arm the troops” and not everyone — including women — is called upon to physically fight.
“It is known that women — other than those whom Allah protects, and they are very few — often engage in nonsense, showing ingratitude towards their husbands, backbiting, and other grave sins,” the ISIS chapter claims, saying they “could atone for some of what they have committed in this worldly life” through charity — and “how, than, about the charity given to help prepare the mujahidin for Allah’s cause?”
The article continues to slam women as “spending extravagantly on transient worldly things of clothing, jewelry, feasts, and so forth” while being “miserly and stingy when it comes to the religion of Allah,” claiming there is an obligation to financially support jihadists “though the Muslim women may miss out on much goodness in waging jihad with the sword.”