The latest: In a big claim, the Taliban has stated that they have managed to kill the Islamic State’s Khorasan Province (ISKP) intel chief and urban attack planner, Qari Fateh, in Kabul during their operations on Sunday night.
- Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid claimed that their security forces killed two key Islamic State commanders in an overnight counterterrorism raid against their hideout in the capital, Kabul.
- Mujahid again stated that “the intelligence and operations chief of Daesh” in Afghanistan was also among those killed in the operation.
- Taliban officials posted footage on Twitter of two bodies lying in debris.
- Fateh is allegedly the mastermind behind the recent attacks against diplomatic missions (Russian, Pakistani, and Chinese embassies in Kabul), mosques and other targets in Kabul.
- A United Nations Security Council report in July 2022 described Fateh as a key IS leader, charged with military operations in an area spanning India, Iran and Central Asia.
- IS-K did not immediately comment on the Taliban’s claims of killing its top leader.
- The announcement came hours before the United States said in a new report that up to 3,000 IS fighters were operating in the South Asian nation and conducting terrorist activities.
Back story: Earlier, this month, the Taliban had also claimed to have killed the IS-K chief for the Indian subcontinent, Ijaz Amin Ahangar, along with his two commanders.
- IS-K last week confirmed the death of Ahangar, also known as Abu Usman Al-Kashmiri, saying in a statement he was killed in a clash with the Taliban on February 14 but did not mention the exact location.
Zoom out: It’s important to note that the claims of the Taliban remain disputed as no other independent authority has verified these deaths of the IS-K commander, however, the Taliban have periodically carried out operations against IS-K since returning to power in Kabul in August 2021 as U.S.-led foreign troops withdrew from the country.
- Daesh has routinely launched high-profile attacks targeting civilians, Taliban members and foreign diplomatic missions in the country.
- The U.S. State Department 2021 country reports on terrorism noted that IS and other regionally focused terror groups maintained “an active presence” and conducted terrorist activities in Afghanistan. “ISIS-K remained a resilient enemy with roughly 2,000 to 3,000 fighters in the country, although precise estimates are hard to determine,” the report said. “Although the Taliban committed to preventing terrorist groups from using Afghanistan to stage attacks against the United States or others, the extent of its ability and willingness to prevent AQ [al-Qaeda] and ISIS-K from mounting external operations remained unclear,” it added.