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Monday, May 29, 2023

Return of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan: The Jihadist State of Play

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.

Read more at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy

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