Global Players Express Concern Over Growing Threat of Terror Groups in Afghanistan Under Taliban Rule


Guess what? The European Union’s special envoy for Afghanistan has said that the humanitarian situation, human rights and the growing threat of “terrorist groups” in Afghanistan is alarming.


Go deeper:

  • Thomas Niklasson, the European Union’s special representative for Afghanistan, tweeted that peace and stability in Afghanistan requires a credible and inclusive national dialogue towards constitutional order with an inclusive political system.
  • He stated that the Taliban ruling in Afghanistan, countries around the world are always concerned about the country becoming a safe haven for “terrorist groups”.
  • Earlier too, special representatives from nine Western countries and the European Union in a joint statement, expressed concern about what they called the growing threat posed by terrorist groups in Afghanistan, including ISIS, al-Qaeda and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistani Taliban, and urged the Taliban to stick to their commitments not to allow terrorist groups to operate.
  • Apart from these countries, even neighbouring nations like Russia, China and Iran appear to share the concerns about terrorism threats from Afghanistan as they call on the Taliban regime to fulfill counterterror promises.


Why it matters? Over the past one and half years of the Taliban regime, alleged terrorist groups based in Afghanistan have plotted and executed attacks against Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. More than 20 armed groups claim to have a presence in the landlocked country.

  • Of particular concern is the active presence in Afghanistan of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an insurgent group that has claimed several terrorist attacks in Pakistan over the past few months.
  • Last week, senior diplomats from Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan gathered in Tashkent to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. “The participants, pointing out that all terrorist groups based in Afghanistan continue to pose a serious threat to regional and global security, strongly called on the current de facto Afghan authorities to take more effective measures to eliminate terrorist groups in the country,” read a statement from Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Presence of Al-Qaida had also been confirmed when last year, a US drone strike killed the al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul. Dodging the blame for sheltering al-Zawahiri in violation of their counterterror promises, the Taliban refuse to confirm that the al-Qaida leader was indeed found and killed in Kabul.
  • The Taliban deny harbouring terrorist groups inside Afghanistan and reiterate their commitment to preventing security threats to other countries.
  • However, they have failed to manage the security incidents. Last week, the Taliban’s governor for the northern Balkh Province was killed in a suicide attack claimed by the ISKP. In December, ISKP claimed killing a district policy chief in the northeastern Badakhshan province.
  • ISKP has also targeted religious minorities and other vulnerable groups under the Taliban rule, killing hundreds of people across Afghanistan last year, the UN has reported.


Zoom out: This comes even as the annual Global Terrorism Index was released which stated that Afghanistan remained the country “most impacted” by terrorism for the fourth consecutive year, despite attacks falling by 75% and deaths being reduced by 58% in 2022.

  • In fact, the report released by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), stated that Afghanistan recorded 633 deaths in 2022.
  • The report showed that 22 provinces of Afghanistan witnessed terrorist activity in 2022. Most of the terrorist attacks took place in Kabul city, which was the cause of Daesh and killed 217 people.
  • The report noted that out of all the deaths caused by terrorism worldwide in 2022, about 9% occurred in Afghanistan, a decrease from the 20% recorded the previous year.
  • Islamic State-Khorasan has emerged as “the most active terrorist group” in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country, killing 422 people in 2022 and accounting for almost 67% of total terrorism-related deaths for the year.
  • “Afghanistan’s drop can largely be attributed to the Taliban taking control of the country after the fall of Kabul in August 2021,” the report said. “As the Taliban are now the state actor in much of Afghanistan, their attacks fall outside the scope of the GTI’s definition of terrorism.”
  • The Taliban were using terrorist attacks in their war against foreign forces and the previous government. According to the reports of reliable authorities, civilian casualties in the past decade were mainly caused by Taliban terrorist attacks.
  • Sirajuddin Haqqani admitted in a speech in 2022 in Kandahar that only 1,050 members of the Haqqani network were involved in suicide attacks in the last decade. The Taliban claimed responsibility for some of the bloody terrorist attacks, including a suicide attack near the Ministry of Interior in 2018. In this attack, more than 100 people were killed and more than 150 people were injured.
  • Pakistan recorded the second largest increase in terrorism-related deaths worldwide in 2022, with the toll rising significantly to 643, a 120% rise from the 292 deaths the previous year.
  • “GTI is a composite measure made up of four indicators: incidents, fatalities, injuries and hostages,” the report says, adding that a five-year “weighted average”—a calculation that takes into account varying degrees of importance of the numbers in a data set—is applied to measure the “impact of terrorism” within a given country.
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