Military Capabilities

Split in Wilayat Khorasan would reduce threat in Pakistan, but northern Afghanistan likely to be increasingly targeted

05 December 2017

Key Points

  • The leadership of the Islamic State’s Wilayat Khorasan faction is contested between Aslam Farooqi – a former Pakistani Taliban commander who favours rapprochement with Pakistan and the Taliban – and Moawiya Uzbekistan, an ideological supporter of core Islamic State.
  • The two factions are likely to increasingly operate as separate entities along clearly defined geographical boundaries, with Farooqi’s fighters focused in the south and southeast and Moawiya’s in the north.
  • Both groups will probably continue to pose a threat to the Afghan central government in terms of territorial control and high-casualty attacks in urban centres, including Kabul.
  • Although the threat posed by Wilayat Khorasan to Pakistan is likely to reduce as a result of Farooqi’s agenda, Moawiya’s faction is likely to prioritise territorial consolidation in northern Afghanistan with a view to expanding its operations into Central Asia in the longer term.

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