Islamic State Escalates in Afghanistan

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 30 September 2021

Al-Naba 305, page four. Caption on the picture reads: “The moment an explosive device blew up a vehicle of the apostate Taliban militia in the city of Jalalabad.”

The 305th edition of Al-Naba, the Islamic State (IS) newsletter, released on 23 September, documents the serious escalation in Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) attacks over the preceding week. This consequence of the NATO withdrawal was entirely predictable—and predicted.

Al-Naba 305 has an infographic on page two that shows ISKP as the most active of IS’s wilayats, with eighteen “operations” (al-amaliyat) and seventy-six “killed and wounded”:

Interestingly, the Afghanistan-specific infographic on page twelve claims that ISKP carried out twelve operations and inflicted eighty-five casualties between 11 and 15 Safar [18 and 22 September]:

On page four, Al-Naba 305 had a longer write-up of ISKP’s recent operations in Afghanistan, claiming:

More than sixty Taliban militiamen were killed and wounded, and eleven of their vehicles were damaged and destroyed, in a successive series of explosions, totalling about fourteen explosions with improvised explosive devices [IEDs], carried out by the soldiers of the caliphate in different regions of Afghanistan, including Kabul and Kunar, while most of them were concentrated in the area of Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar in eastern Afghanistan.

Al-Naba celebrates the “confusion” the attacks have caused in the Taliban’s ranks and mocks the Taliban for continuing to threaten ISKP as part of their “feeble and begging statements” to “the countries of the cross and their international institutions that are at war with Islam and the Muslims”.

Al-Naba’s detailed claims for its attacks are:

  • 18 September: ISKP attacked a Taliban vehicle with an IED in District Four of Jalalabad, killing two talibs and wounding three. A second IED was then detonated among the first-responders, killing four talibs and wounding eight. A third bomb in the same area, on the same day, against a second vehicle, killed one talib and wounded three.
  • 18 September: A fourth ISKP bomb in District Six of Jalalabad damaged a third vehicle, while killing two talibs and wounding three. A fifth bomb on a fourth vehicle, near the Indian Consulate, killed three members of the Taliban, including a “leader” (qayadi), and injured five. A sixth bomb against a fifth Taliban vehicle in Jalalabad, this one in the Fifth District, damaged the vehicle and caused injuries; no more specifics were given.
  • 19 September: ISKP carried out three more attacks on the Taliban in Jalalabad (the seventh, eighth, and ninth): a sixth vehicle was struck, this in District Five, killing three talibs and wounding two; a bomb in Zone Nine of Nangarhar killed four members of the Taliban and wounded three, while damaging a seventh vehicle, and a bombing against the talibs who gathered after this explosion killed two more.
  • 19 September: A bombing against a vehicle—the eighth in total—in Kunar wounded two talibs.
  • 22 September: A bombing in District Seventeen of Kabul struck a ninth vehicle, damaging it and injuring six talibs.
  • 22 September: Another bombing in District Five of Jalalabad, the twelfth against the tenth vehicle, killed two talibs and wounded four.
  • 22 September: A thirteenth bombing against an eleventh vehicle, in District Two of Jalalabad, damaged the vehicle, killed two talibs, and wounded two more.

Al-Naba 305 then records a set of targeted assassinations:

Al-Naba 305, p. 4, “Gun seized from a Taliban militia member after his assassination in Jalalabad”.

  • 18 September: ISKP shot dead a talib in District Four of Jalalabad using a pistol and seizing his weapon
  • 22 September: Two members of the Taliban were killed by ISKP assassins in District Five of Jalalabad using machine guns, and took their weapons.

The article then records several operations in Pakistan:

  • 18 September: A “spy for the apostate Pakistani government” was killed using a machine gun in Peshawar, the provincial capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, what was once the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP).
  • 19 September: ISKP killed a Pakistani policeman in Dhal Behzadi, in the Kohat district of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, about forty-five miles south of Peshawar.
  • 20 September: An IED targeted “another spy for the apostate Pakistani intelligence” in Mohmand, in the Bajaur District of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, not killing him but leaving him “seriously injured”.

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