Islamic State Khorasan is Pakistan's latest proxy, says analyst

·2-min read
Representative Image
Representative Image

Islamabad [Pakistan], September 8 (ANI): The Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) is Pakistan's latest proxy while sheltering, funding, and training terrorist groups.

Abhinav Pandya, writing in The National Interest said that Pakistan's double game of keeping up the pretence of being a US ally against terror while sheltering, funding, and training terrorist groups with American aid money is likely to continue.

Given the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI's) history of intelligence operations, it is not challenging to understand how Pakistan's nexus with ISKP furthers Islamabad's objectives.

ISKP claimed the Kabul explosions that killed more than 100 people, including thirteen US marines. Following the attack, ISKP, hitherto a second fiddle in the Afghan conflict theatre, emerged as a new target of the global war on terror.

Moreover, it is leading some to have a rosier view of the Pakistan-backed Taliban, which are now being viewed as a counterweight to Islamic State (ISIS), said Pandya.

ISKP is a Pakistani proxy that is thriving under Islamabad's patronage. Most of ISKP's cadres include disgruntled elements from the Taliban, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, and Pakistan's other proxy groups like Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Pakistan has raised many two-tier proxy groups with secular names in Kashmir after the first layer got exposed. For example, The Resistance Front (TRF) is a LeT offshoot. The People's Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF) is JeM's proxy.

LeT and JeM stand exposed as Pakistan-backed terror groups, and any attacks claimed by them may invite a harsh reaction by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) against Pakistan, said Pandya.

Hence, since raising multiple proxies gives Pakistan deniability, the ISI is using the same model in Afghanistan.

For example, luring Indian nationals into ISKP and inducing them to target Indian interests in Afghanistan has offered convincing deniability to Pakistan compared to using known proxies like LeT and JeM, reported The National Interest.

Likewise, since Pakistan's links with the Taliban and Haqqani Network (HQN) are well-known, it is nurturing ISKP for three reasons: to maintain a degree of plausible deniability, to project an image of also being a victim of terror, and to make the Taliban more acceptable to international actors, said Pandya.

There is a strong likelihood that ISKP will claim responsibility for more attacks on Western and Indian targets in the region soon.

The only difference now is that ISKP has replaced Al Qaeda and the Taliban as America's latest antagonist. Regardless, as long as the Pakistani Army's General Headquarters in Rawalpindi continues to play its bloody and covert intelligence game from behind the scenes, innocent Afghans will continue to suffer, said Pandya. (ANI)

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