On the phenomenon of so-called Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan
So-called Islamic State (IS/Da’esh) constitutes a global threat. This can be seen not only in the latest attacks in Europe but also in the expansion of the terrorist organization in the Muslim world. The significance and implications of the IS phenomenon in Afghanistan (IS-Khorasan) are contentious issues, despite attacks and atrocities having been committed there in the name of so-called Islamic State since early 2015. It is not only unclear what the actual spread of and support for IS in Afghanistan is, but also what connections, if any, to Syria and Iraq as the heartland of IS, exist, for example through financing, command structures and recruitment networks. Similarly in question is how authority is exercised at the local level in Afghan districts and how attractive the Salafist–Wahhabi ideology is for the Afghan population and those belonging to other militant groups operating in Afghanistan. In order to enable political decision-makers to meet this challenge in an informed and appropriate manner, BICC analyses, together with its Afghan partner organization TLO, and funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, the “IS phenomenon” in Afghanistan in a 10-month project based on qualitative research.