ISKP is a Pakistani proxy, says geo-political expert
Wasington: A leading US-based magazine has called the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), the group which took responsibility for the recent blasts in Kabul airport, as a 'Pakistani proxy'.
Writer Abhinav Pandya wrote in his article published in The National Interest: "ISKP is also a Pakistani proxy that is thriving under Islamabad’s patronage."
"Most of ISKP’s cadres include disgruntled elements from the Taliban, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, and Pakistan’s other proxy groups like Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). The rest include foreign fighters from Uzbekistan, Kerala (India), etc," he said.
"In the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, there are numerous heavyweight proxies that are supported by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) like the Haqqani Network (HQN), JeM, LeT, and the Taliban. Given these groups’ presence, it is almost impossible for a new organization to survive without the blessings of the Pakistani Army’s General Headquarters in Rawalpindi," the writer mentioned.
"Since the ISKP and Taliban are competing for recruits, territory, and revenue sources, a lay observer understands that they are sworn enemies. However, the groups have much in common. Ideologically, the Taliban and ISKP are both Sunni extremists aiming for a sharia-ruled Islamic society. Until recently, NATO forces and the Afghan government were their common enemies, and in regard to their brutal treatment of women, non-Muslims, and Shias and Ahmadiyyas religious minorities, the Taliban and ISKP are more or less on the same page," he wrote.
"With Pakistan-sponsored terrorist groups, it is common to overlook ideological differences and work on tactically compromising towards larger objectives. For example, in Kashmir, JeM, a Deobandi terrorist group with generational ties to the Taliban—as the Taliban also subscribes to Deobandi ideology—comfortably works with groups with differing ideologies such as LeT, a Salafi group, and Hizbul Mujahidin, which subscribes to Maulana Maududi’s version of political Islam," the writer opinined.
The writer said there is a strong likelihood that ISKP will claim responsibility for more attacks on Western and Indian targets in the region soon.
"Moreover, Pakistan’s double game of keeping up the pretense of being a U.S. ally against terror while sheltering, funding, and training terrorist groups with U.S. aid money is likely to continue. The only difference now is that ISKP has replaced Al Qaeda and the Taliban as America’s latest antagonist," Pandya said.
"Regardless, as long as the Pakistani Army’s General Headquarters in Rawalpindi continues to play its bloody and covert intelligence game from behind the scenes, innocent Afghans will continue to suffer," he said.