The fall of Kabul raises a number of questions about the future of the jihadist movement, from the plans being pondered by global organizations like al-Qaeda (AQ) and the Islamic State (IS), to the reaction of local actors such as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the Syrian group that views the Taliban as a model. Answering these questions can help policymakers better understand where the current situation stands and how the environment could change going forward.
In December 2018, a senior Taliban commander told NBC News that the group had around 2,000-3,000 foreign fighters. Most of these individuals came from Pakistan, Xinjiang, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, the Caucasus, Tunisia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, or Iraq.
IS has likewise had a stream of foreign recruits join its ranks in Afghanistan. A specific number is hard to pin down, but a good portion of its local leadership is Pakistani, and members have also come from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Xinjiang, Jordan, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Algeria, or France.