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Afghanistan, strategic partnership between ISKP and Haqqani Network

The new head of ISKP (Isis in Afghanistan) is Shahab Al-Muhajir, a member of the Haqqani Network. The two groups have signed a strategic partnership to ensure the survival and growth of both. Especially after the Taliban have become an enemy

Isis in Afghanistan (ISKP) has a new leader: his name is Shahab Al-Muhajir, and he is a member of the Haqqani Network, until now linked to the Taliban and al Qaeda. Masoud Andarabi, the  acting Ministry of the Interior, announced it on his Twitter profile. The close relations between the groups had already been confirmed recently, but so far no member of the “family-run” formation had led the Islamic State terrorists directly. In all likelihood, he was chosen on input from Haji Mali Khan, uncle of Sirajuddin and Badaruddin (the sons of the founder Jalaluddin) and current head of the network in Afghanistan, following a strategic agreement to guarantee the survival and growth of the Network and from Daesh. In fact, both are threatened by the new posture of the Islamic Emirate. Especially after the agreement signed with the USA and the negotiations with Kabul which, albeit slowly, are progressing.

Both local formation and the Islamic State have a strong interest in working together. The former need technology and labor, while the latter knowledge of the terrain, relations and logistical support in FATA

Both Isis and the Haqqani Network, in fact, have an interest in operating together in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The former must quickly look for a new controllable partner, after the growing pressure suffered recently and the new posture of the Taliban who are negotiating with Kabul, becoming an “enemy”. The risk is losing weight and the network of protections that have so far allowed them to move in peace between the two countries. ISKP, on the other hand, needs someone who knows how to move and above all has the right contacts and relations in the east of the country, on the border with FATA, to not be crushed by the Islamic Emirate and the ANDSF. So they agreed to give up the leadership in exchange for survival and expansion.

There is also the new Silk Road, which could pass through Afghanistan. For the new alliance, it is an opportunity to make huge profits

There is also the issue of the new Silk Road, which could also pass through Afghanistan. the Asian country is rich in some minerals including gold, copper and chromite, but the deposits have so far never been exploited adequately due to the wars in progress. In addition, the nation represents a privileged gateway to the markets of the other ex-Soviet republics of Central Asia. Consequently, China is very interested especially in the long term. At the same time, however, so are the Haqqani Network and Isis, which see in it a huge opportunity to profit. Even only thanks to the bribes imposed to pass the goods over their territory. In this context, the two groups are complementary. The first has political and military relations and protections. Daesh, on the other hand, has technological expertise (learned on various other battlefields) and the “workforce”.

The latest ISKP attack on Jalalabad prison is a clear sign and perhaps was planned with the Haqqani Network. Revenge for the killing of Ziaurahman, head of Daesh intelligence in Afghanistan, is a secondary motivation. The main one was to recruit new fighters quickly

The latest attack by ISKP on the Jalalabad prison did not happen by chance, but it had a specific goal: to free the detainees, so as to enlist new fighters rapidly among the ranks of the group. This is because the Taliban in recent months have almost eliminated the number of the Islamic State jihadists. By the way, it cannot be excluded that the information necessary to allow the release of hundreds of inmates was provided precisely by the Haqqani Network. It was a complex operation (first a shahid and then an armed commando), which required great resources (including information) and careful planning, which until now had never been part of Daesh’s modus operandi in Afghanistan. A sign that there has been a change of pace (and danger). Revenge for the killing of Ziaurahman (aka Assadullah Orakzai), head of IS intelligence in the Asian nation, is in fact a secondary motivation.

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