Afghanistan: the Taliban killed seven Islamic State militants

Flag map of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
Map of Afghanistan with the flag of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Credits: Bilikon, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Taliban continue their effort to contrast and eliminate the Islamic State’s threat, confirming Kabul’s necessity to stabilise the country to attract foreign investors and international consensus.

  • Afghanistan is still an unsafe country where the local Taliban interim Government is fighting against terrorist groups in the country, especially the Islamic State.
  • The Taliban need to counter terrorist threats inside the country to attract foreign investors and revitalise the national economy that hugely suffered since the US troops’ withdrawal in August 2021.
  • Although in recent counterterrorism operations Taliban forces eliminated IS militants, the group still threatens civilian and military personnel and Taliban officials with its violent attacks and jihadist propaganda.

Information background

On May 8th-9th, 2023, in Kabul, during a counterterrorism operation, the Taliban killed seven militants of the Islamic State (IS). The operation occurred in two blocks of the capital immediately. The jihadists resisted, and the clash dragged on for several hours. Two Pashtun nationalists were wounded in the shootout. The Taliban found weapons and Improved Explosive Devices (IEDs) in the homes of IS militants.

On May 5th, 2023, pro-Taliban resources also stated that, during a counterterrorism operation in the capital, Sanaullha Ghafari, the deputy leader of the Islamic State Vilayat Khorasan (ISKP) was eliminated (information needs to be verified).

In November 2021, the US State Department included Sanaulla Gafari, also known as Shahab al-Muajir, in the sanctions list of terrorist militants of the ISKP. Afghan intelligence officials claimed Ghafari received military training in field camps in Pakistan. Prior to joining IS, he was a member of the Haqqani Network in Kabul.

Geopolitical scenario

Since the US troops’ withdrawal from the country in August 2021, Afghanistan has experienced a surge in terrorist attacks and violence. Despite the Taliban’s proclaims, the country is not stable and risks to become involved in a continuous and long conflict between the Taliban and the Islamic State.

Considering Kabul’s necessity to attract foreign investors and neighbouring countries’ consensus, it is advisable that the Taliban will continue to contrast IS terrorist activities with counterterrorism operations. If the Taliban will continue targeting IS militants and leaders in the country, this terrorist organisation might increase violent attacks against civilians and business activities.

Author: Giuliano Bifolchi

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