ISIS Branch Blamed in Moscow Attack Has Hit at Taliban’s Russia Links

The ISIS affiliate that American officials say was behind the deadly attack in Moscow is one of the last significant antagonists that the Taliban government faces in Afghanistan, and it has carried out repeated attacks there, including on the Russian Embassy, in recent years.

That branch of ISIS — known as the Islamic State Khorasan or ISIS-K — has portrayed itself as the primary rival to the Taliban, who it says have not implemented true Shariah law since seizing power in 2021. It has sought to undermine the Taliban’s relationships with regional allies and portray the government as unable to provide çankaya escort bayan security in the country, experts say.

In 2022, ISIS-K carried out attacks on the Russian and Pakistani embassies in Kabul and a hotel that was home to many Chinese nationals. More recently, it has also threatened attacks against the Chinese, Indian and Iranian embassies in Afghanistan eryaman escort bayan
and has released a flood of anti-Russian propaganda.

It has also struck outside Afghanistan. In January, ISIS-K, carried out twin bombings in Iran that killed scores and wounded hundreds of others at a memorial service for Iran’s former top general, adana escort bayan
Qassim Suleimani, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike four years before.

In recent months, the Taliban’s relationship with Russia, as well as China and Iran, has warmed up. While no country has officially recognized the Taliban government, earlier this month Russia accepted a military attaché from the Taliban in Moscow, while China officially accepted a Taliban ambassador to the country. Both moves were seen as confidence-building measures with Taliban authorities.

ISIS-K has both denounced the Kremlin for its interventions in Syria and condemned the Taliban for engaging with Russian authorities decades after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.

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