The Taliban have declared ISIS-K, an affiliate of the Islamic State, a corrupt “cult” and have banned Afghans from contacting it.
“We call out to the nation that the seditious phenomenon called ISIS-K lacks in the current era and is a fake sect that spreads corruption in our Islamic country. It is forbidden to have any kind of help or relationship with them,” the Taliban said in a resolution on Saturday.
The resolution follows a three-day conference of religious leaders and elders in Kabul, according to Afghanistan’s state Bakthar news agency.
ISIS-K (the k stands for Khorasan, the name of a historical region that covered parts of modern Afghanistan and Pakistan) has been operating in Afghanistan for the past several years.
It is an offshoot of ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, according to the Wilson Center, a nonpartisan policy forum.
It has carried out numerous attacks against Afghan civilians and is believed to be responsible for thousands of deaths since its formation in 2015.
The Taliban resolution said that Afghanistan follows an Islamic system of government and that “armed opposition to this system is considered rebellion and corruption.”
He added that “any kind of opposition to this Islamic system of government, which is in conflict with Islamic Sharia and national interests, is corruption and illegal action.”
The connection between ISIS-K and its apparent parent group Islamic State is not entirely clear; affiliates share an ideology and tactics, but the depth of their relationship with respect to organization and command and control has never been fully established.
US intelligence officials previously told CNN that ISIS-K’s membership includes “a small number of veteran jihadists from Syria and other foreign terrorist fighters,” saying the US had identified 10 to 15 of its main operatives in Afghanistan.
Its earliest members included Pakistani militants who emerged in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province a decade ago, many of whom had fled Pakistan and defected from other terror groups, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
Counterterrorism analysts last year estimated their strength at around 1,500-2,000, but that number may have increased.
In its resolution on Saturday, the Taliban also pledged allegiance to Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, the group’s reclusive paramount leader, whom it referred to as the “leader of the people.”
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.