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Qari Hekmat’s Island Overrun: Taleban defeat ‘ISKP’ in Jawzjan

 The Taleban have eliminated the self-proclaimed Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) group that had been holding an enclave of territory in the isolated districts of Qush Tepa and Darzab in Jawzjan province for the last three years. It was the only ISKP-aligned group with territorial control outside the east of Afghanistan. The group failed to […]

The Insecure Spring of Ghazni: Results of third-grade treatment by the centre?

Ghazni is one province where the Taleban have long-established significant influence. Actually, they dominate it militarily, with the exception of the provincial capital, all but one of the 18 district centres and some larger areas in three districts. Over the spring of 2018, the Taleban – although not capturing more territory –, have significantly expanded […]

Still under the IS’s Black Flag: Qari Hekmat’s ISKP island in Jawzjan after his death by drone

In April, Qari Hekmatullah, the self-proclaimed commander of the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), was killed in a US airstrike. Under his command, a local affiliate of the Afghan-Pakistani Daesh affiliate, ISKP, had challenged both the government and the Taleban and established almost full control over two remote districts of Jawzjan province, Darzab and Qush […]

Going Nationwide: The Helmand peace march initiative

Protests in Helmand calling for a ceasefire and talks between insurgents and government are about to enter their second month. The pro-peace demonstrations which began in what are often described as the Taleban’s ‘southern heartlands’, have been spreading: they can now be found in half of Afghanistan’s provinces and for now, at least, they are […]

Qari Hekmat’s Island: A Daesh enclave in Jawzjan?

The Taleban have failed either to re-enlist or to eliminate a dissident commander in Jawzjan who, as a result of internal Taleban conflicts over territorial control and taxation, has aligned himself with Daesh. A recent military offensive – in which fighters from several provinces were mobilised – remained unsuccessful in the second half of October. […]

Non-Pashtun Taleban of the North (4): A case study from Jawzjan

The Taleban have put in place administrative and military institutions in northern Jawzjan province that function relatively well. The shadow administrative posts are held by local non-Pashtuns. The recruitment of Uzbeks, in particular, has proved effective for the Taleban. However, Daesh’s appearance in this Uzbek-dominated province has created concerns, not only for the local government, […]