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KAS / Ellinor Zeino

Country Reports

Islamist Terrorism After The Taliban Takeover

by Dr. Ellinor Zeino

Impacts on Afghanistan and its region

With the Taliban taking power in August 2021, the withdrawal of foreign forces and the flight of the Ghani government abroad, decades of war in Afghanistan came to an end. However, terrorist attacks by jihadist groups, especially the local branch of the Islamic State, ISKP, are steadily increasing. At the same time, the humanitarian, economic and political situation has deteriorated significantly, leaving the Afghan people in a state of insecurity and hopelessness.

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The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan and the concurrent rise of Salafi Jihadism has not yet led to a new terrorist threat against the USA and its NATO allies. The impact on Islamist militancy in other regions such as Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa has as yet been limited. However, Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) and other transnational terrorist organisations residing in Afghanistan are waging a localised Jihad with a focus on the “near enemy”, thriving on the exploitation of local grievances. In recent months the Taliban leadership has been at pains to show the international community and the neighbouring countries that it has a grip on the dozens of militant groups in the country, some of which are close to Al-Qaeda. The crucial question is whether the Taliban will be able and willing to deliver on the counterterrorism guarantee they gave in the Doha Agreement of February 2020, in which they promised not to allow terrorist organisations to plan or conduct terrorist activities from Afghan territory against the United States and its allies.


The full-length publication is only available in German.



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Dr. Ellinor Zeino

Ellinor Zeino

Head of the Southwest Asia Regional Programme


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