Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

Islamic State under pressure in Afghanistan

< 1 min

Nikkei Asian Review, 31 August 2016

Ryskeldi Satke looks at the Afghan-Pakistani IS offshoot, which calls itself the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, for the Japanese outlet and quotes from AAN and AAN’s Thomas Ruttig:

Afghanistan Analysts Network, a Kabul-based think tank that monitors political developments in the country, says ISKP has made “many enemies” since it pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi nearly two years ago. (…)

On the new role of the US military:

“Their seemingly main role is to boost combat effectiveness of the Afghan troops, helping with coordination, providing intelligence, directing airstrikes etc, and not so much as a fighting force,” said Thomas Ruttig, co-director of AAN.

(…)

Ruttig said the number of militants who have joined ISKP is unclear, due to conflicting reports from Afghan officials. “Even the U.S. figures given — between 1,000 and 3,000 — might be too high, at least its upper margin,” said Ruttig.

“[ISKP is] much less active than the Taliban” throughout the country’s rugged territory, although the possibility of more bombings by the group “can never be excluded,” he said.

Ruttig said he doubted whether the group currently represented a real threat to Afghanistan’s northern neighbors. “Such comments are clearly the sign of the ‘securitization’ of thinking in those country’s elites [in Russia and Central Asia] — who also have a lot to deflect from in their own political practice by constructing an oversized threat,” he said.