Despite recent bloody attacks that have killed dozens, Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers said Wednesday that the threat posed by the Islamic State group in the country was “more or less under control.”
Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a news conference that IS was “not a major threat,” adding that 600 members or sympathizers had been apprehended since the Taliban took control of the country in mid-August.
He claimed that among those apprehended were a few women who would be questioned by other women.
“They are not many in Afghanistan because they do not have the people’s support,” Mujahid said, adding that the Taliban was continuing operations against their Islamist adversaries.
The Islamic State, a Sunni group similar to the Taliban, is more extreme and advocates a “global jihad” rather than a national struggle.
The group rose to prominence after declaring a caliphate in Syria in 2014, inspiring a number of offshoots around the world, including “Khorasan,” a historical region encompassing parts of modern-day Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan.
According to Mujahid, unlike its counterpart in the Middle East, IS-Khorasan is mostly made up of local fighters, and its presence in Afghanistan poses no threat to other countries.
Nonetheless, the group has claimed responsibility for a number of bloody attacks since the Taliban’s re-election.
In one of the most recent, IS fighters raided the Kabul National Military Hospital in early November, killing at least 19 people and injuring more than 50.
IS-K openly targets the Shiite minority, which they regard as heretical, and particularly the Hazaras.
More than 120 people were killed in IS attacks on two mosques popular with Hazaras earlier this year.