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Jihadi Commuters: How the Taleban cross the Durand Line

The Taleban use Pakistan as a sanctuary: most of the movement’s leaders are settled there and it is the movement’s preferred place for training, meeting and as a rear base. It is also the prime destination for ‘rest and recuperation’ (R&R) and the rehabilitation of wounded fighters. But how do the Taleban move between the […]

AAN Q&A: Taleban leader Hebatullah’s new treatise on jihad

Taleban leader Hebatullah Akhundzada has published a book which provides fresh clues about his current concerns and interests. The treatise is largely a collection of quotes from Islamic literature, mostly prophetic sayings, on various aspects of jihad. It contains little of the author’s personal opinions and interpretations. Yet, the choice of themes and sources, the […]

The Battle for Mamand: ISKP under strain, but not yet defeated 

In recent weeks, the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) has lost a significant part of its stronghold in Nangrahar as well as several senior commanders and its overall leader, Sheikh Abdul Hasib. Its losses have been mounting steadily since early April when American and Afghan special forces intensified their campaign against the group. This included […]

Rallying Around the White Flag: Taleban embrace an assertive identity

The Taleban appear to have woken up to the importance of organisational symbols and their political meaning. Compared to how little they cared about their image during the 1990s and the initial years of the insurgency, the Taleban now project an increasing consciousness of their ‘brand’. This is seen in both their media and the […]

ISKP’s Battle for Minds: What are its main messages and who do they attract?

The Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) uses propaganda to carve out new space in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s already crowded jihadi landscape. It uses popular media and promotes a distinct narrative of Salafi-jihadism tailored to local preferences and focused on specific themes. In the first part of this dispatch, AAN’s Borhan Osman analyses the propaganda messages […]