Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

In Afghanistan, the Islamic State Threatens Long-Term Peace

< 1 min

Foreign Policy, 4 June 2020

In this article by Emran Feroz, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is quoted on the relationship between IS ‘Central’ and its Afghan branch, ISKP:

But while ISKP’s parent organization is largely known in much detail, its Afghan branch remains mysterious since its first appearance in 2015. In a further perplexing twist, it seems that any connection between the two barely exists beyond paper. “I would look at them separately, also because of the geography,” said Thomas Ruttig, the co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network. Ruttig said many of these Afghan Islamic State militants act independently of each other, suggesting that negotiation might prove impossible. “They don’t have to interact with each other. They are able to operate separately while proclaiming attacks under one banner. That’s the whole idea of the Islamic State’s franchise terrorism,” Ruttig told Foreign Policy in a phone conversation. (…)

After the horrific attack on the maternity ward last month, the government was quick to blame the Taliban, though no group took responsibility and some analysts, like Ruttig, thought ISKP was much more likely responsible for the attack. “Obviously, the attack has ISKP fingerprints. It did not make sense from the Taliban’s view,” Ruttig said. (…)

“The ideological hurdle between the two groups is still very high, which also indicates that after a peace deal many Taliban fighters might not want to defect to the Islamic State,” Ruttig said.