Analysis of the Islamic State Wilayat Khorasan’s Video Message “Followers of al-Yahud”

ISKP video message "Follower of al-Yahud"
Screenshots of the ISKP video message “Follower of al-Yahud” (Credits: SpecialEurasia)

Geopolitical Report ISSN 2785-2598 Volume 44 Issue 1
Author: Giuliano Bifolchi

Executive Summary

Al Azaim Foundation, the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) media wing, recently released a video titled “Followers of the Jews” that represents a strategic attempt to undermine the Taliban’s religious authority in Afghanistan.

This video targets several groups, including the Taliban, the Shiite community, and those perceived as aligned with the United States. By framing the Taliban as both un-Islamic and as proxies for Western interests, ISKP aims to destabilise the current power structure in Afghanistan.

The implications of this propaganda suggest a potential escalation in violence against both the Taliban and the Shia minority, as ISKP seeks to assert its influence and undermine the region further.

ISKP Video: Main Topics

On June 27th, 2024, Al Azaim Media Foundation released a video that serves multiple purposes in its propaganda campaign. Its purpose is to incite further instability and discord by highlighting the Taliban’s perceived religious transgressions and political betrayals. These are the major topics promoted in the video:

  1. Criticism of the Shia community. ISKP criticises the Shiite community for their veneration practices and theological differences. They specifically accused the Shiites of disrespecting revered figures like the Prophet Muhammad and the caliphs Abu Bakr and Umar ibn al-Khattab. The terrorist organisation accused Shiites of believing in a distorted version of the Quran, intending to sow division between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Afghanistan.
  2. Condemnation of Taliban’s preservation of historical sites of other religions. ISKP targeted the Taliban’s efforts to preserve historical sites and monuments linked with other religions (for instance, Buddhism), deeming these actions idolatrous. The group portrayed the Taliban’s preservation efforts as a significant deviation from what they consider authentic Islamic values, criticising them for not adhering to a stricter interpretation of Islamic teachings.
  3. Taliban’s protection of the Shia community. The video condemns the Taliban for their stated protection of the Shia community. ISKP frames this protection as a sign of ideological corruption and deviation from true Islam. This criticism contrasts with several international reports showing that the Shia community has struggled for survival under Taliban rule, highlighting a complex and contentious issue.
  4. Taliban are the new “U.S. Mercenaries in Khorasan”. The terrorist group highlighted the Taliban are acting as mercenaries for the United States, supporting this claim with footage of Donald Trump implying that the Taliban would fight on behalf of the U.S. even after its withdrawal. The group uses graphic depictions of alleged Taliban operations resulting in civilian casualties to underscore what they describe as the Taliban’s brutality.
  5. Adherence to International Conditions. The video criticised current government in Kabul for adhering to conditions set by the international community, arguing that this compromises Islamic principles. The ISKP drew attention to the Taliban’s hesitance in supporting Muslims globally, exemplified by their lack of involvement in regions like Palestine or Xinjiang. This portrayal suggests their detachment and indifference towards the wider struggles of the Muslim world.
  6. International Relations Criticism. ISKP attacked the Taliban’s international relations, particularly with countries that oppress Muslims and desecrate Islamic sites. The group brands the Taliban’s form of Islam as “American Islam,” corrupted by Western values and Jewish and Christian influences. They support this narrative by accusing the Taliban of tolerating behaviours such as alcohol consumption, homosexuality, and sorcery, which ISKP claims are abominations under true Islamic law.

Risk Assessment

ISKP’s criticism against the Shiite community and the Taliban suggests a heightened risk of escalating violence in Afghanistan. The group’s focus on theological differences and the alleged distorted beliefs of Shiites may incite further sectarian violence, exacerbating existing tensions between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

The Taliban’s perceived deviation from strict Islamic values, particularly in preserving historical sites and protecting the Shia community, provides ISKP with a potent narrative to justify increased attacks. This rhetoric could fuel sectarian conflict, leading to more frequent and severe acts of violence against both the Taliban and Shia populations, destabilising the region further.

By positioning themselves as the true defenders of Islam against a “compromised” Taliban, ISKP can attract disillusioned Afghans, particularly those dissatisfied with the current governance and security situation. This increase in recruitment would not only swell ISKP’s ranks, but also amplify the threat to the Taliban’s control and the broader stability of Afghanistan. A stronger ISKP could challenge the Taliban’s dominance, leading to a protracted conflict that undermines the government’s efforts to maintain order and provide security.

If ISKP expands its fighter base effectively and gain control over territories in Afghanistan, the consequences would be severe. The establishment of a terrorist hub in such a strategically significant location would pose a multifaceted threat.

Afghanistan’s proximity to Central Asia, Iran, Pakistan, and China provides the terrorist organisation with an advantageous position to influence and destabilise these regions. ISKP, by creating a haven for terrorists in Afghanistan, would be able to effectively orchestrate and carry out attacks outside its borders, thus risking the escalation of regional conflicts and the proliferation of insecurity.

The broader geopolitical implications of an empowered ISKP in Afghanistan are significant and cannot be underestimated.

From this strategic foothold, ISKP could intensify its jihadist propaganda, attracting global jihadist networks to its cause. This would not only perpetuate a cycle of violence within Afghanistan but also project instability across the Eurasian geopolitical landscape.

ISKP’s potential to organise and lead operations against various adversaries utilising Afghanistan’s strategic location can elevate them as a prominent player in regional geopolitics. This would complicate international counterterrorism efforts and hinder the promotion of stability.

For further analyses and reports about ISKP propaganda and activities in Afghanistan, feel free to contact us at and schedule a meeting to discuss our consulting services.

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