Sharia Showdown: The Taliban vs. ISIS-K

Recently, as aforementioned in my previous articles, the Taliban has taken control of the Afghan Government. However they are not unopposed, 1 major group stands in their way; ISIS-K. The Islamic State in the Khorasan Province, better known as ISIS-K, moved into and established itself within the country during January of 2015. Different interpretations of Sharia, or Islamic law had immediately led to tensions with the Taliban, and escalated into an armed conflict when ISIS-K assassinated the Taliban Regional Commander Abdul Ghani a month later in Logar Province.

Already at war with the US, both parties had to wage a 3 way war. In 2018, the Taliban’s senior leadership launched a massive offensive to destroy ISIS strongholds in Darzab and Nangarhar which led to a great victory with the surrender of both districts and their defenders. In 2019 they destroyed another major hardpoint. It has gone on since then, but only those 2 remain with the US withdraw. ISIS-K is composed of Radical Islamists and Taliban dissidents, all of whom believe the Taliban are not extreme enough. Their mission is to take control of Khorasan, or as we know it, Afghanistan. In the last few months they have launched numerous attacks not only in Kabul but all over Afghanistan, the most notable being their bombing of Kunduz Mosque meant to kill Taliban leaders on October 8th, a grenade attack on a religious school in Khost on October 7th. and the bombing of the Asadabad Police Station on October 14th that killed 11 people including the chief.

In response, the Taliban killed a Salafi cleric by the name of Mullah Mutawakil for suspected links to ISIS then proceeded to shut down all the mosques and schools in the area on September 5th, and wiped out several of their bases on October4th with no quarter given. Needless to say, the Taliban’s consolidation of power will be a long and bloody process that will further destabilize the region.

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