Country Reports on Terrorism 2017 - Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Islamic State's Khorasan Province

aka ISIL Khorasan; Islamic State's Khorasan Province; ISIS Wilayat Khorasan; ISIL's South Asia Branch; South Asian chapter of ISIL

Description: Islamic State's Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on January 14, 2016. The group is based in Afghanistan, conducts operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and is composed primarily of former members of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, the Afghan Taliban, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. ISIS-K's senior leadership has pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, which was accepted in late January 2015. ISIS-K has carried out suicide bombings, small arms attacks, and kidnappings in Afghanistan against civilians and Afghan National Security and Defense Forces. The group has also claimed responsibility for attacks on civilians and government officials in Pakistan.

It was reported that ISIS-K leader Hafiz Saeed Khan was killed in July 2016. Khan's former deputy and the former Taliban Commander from Logar Province, Abdul Hasib, took over leadership for ISIS-K. Abdul Hasib was killed in a joint Afghan and U.S. operation in April 2017. His successor is Abu Sayed, who was reported killed in 2017 although his death was not subsequently confirmed.

Activities: In January 2016, the group claimed it carried out a strike on a Pakistani consulate in Afghanistan, resulting in the deaths of seven Afghan security personnel. In July, the group conducted a bomb attack at a peaceful protest in Kabul, Afghanistan that killed approximately 80 people and wounded another 230. In August, ISIS-K claimed it carried out a shooting and suicide bombing at a hospital in Quetta targeting lawyers, which killed 94. It also claimed responsibility in November 2016 for a suicide bombing at the Shah Noorani Shrine in Baluchistan province, Pakistan, killing more than 50 people.

On July 31, 2017, ISIS-K fighters attacked the Iraqi embassy in Kabul, killing two people including a security guard on the compound. The next day, ISIS-K bombed a mosque in western Afghanistan, killing 29 people and injuring 60 others. Between October and December of 2017, ISIS-K claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks in Kabul, including ones targeting a television station, a Shia cultural center, and an Afghan intelligence office near the U.S. embassy.

ISIS-K also claimed multiple attacks in Pakistan in 2017, including an attack on a Sufi shrine in Sindh province in February that killed at least 88 people, and an attack on a church in Quetta that killed at least nine people.

Strength: Estimates of ISIS-K strength ranged from 1,500 to 3,000 fighters in 2017.

Location/Area of Operation: The group operates in eastern and parts of northern Afghanistan and western Pakistan.

Funding and External Aid: ISIS-K receives some funding from ISIS. Additional funds come from taxes and extortion on the local population and businesses.


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