Islamic State in Afghanistan Promises Attacks on Chinese and Iranian Cities, Threatens Uzbekistan and Tajikistan
The Islamic State Khurasan Province (ISKP) continued its propaganda assault on the Taliban in a June 17 issue of its flagship Voice of Khurasan (VoK) magazine series, criticizing the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) domestic and foreign policy. The publication, produced by ISKP’s official branch outlet, al-Azaim, has become a key platform in the media warfare campaign purposed in part to threaten and malign its enemies, both immediate and external, while contrasting these parties with the pure, pious, and righteous Islamic State movement.
The Graveyard for Kuffar and Apostates is a particularly notable segment of VoK issue 8 and drills down on the importance of Khurasan Province in furthering the greater Islamic State (IS) cause and as an arena in and from which to strike its enemies.
“Once again the noble warriors of Khilafah gave a massive blow, from the borders of Tajikistan to the beautiful valleys and mountains of Bajaur, to the international tawaghit in addition to the Rafidah pagans,” they boast.
Referencing their May 7 operation in which “the mujahidin bombarded positions for the murtad Tajik forces from a very near distance by Katyusha rockets,” they note that “the attack was more accurate than it was expected,” causing fear amongst Tajikistan’s government and difficulties for the “murtad Taliban regime” who want to “fulfill their void promise of ensuring no harm for their Russian, American, Chinese, and other international masters from the soil of Afghanistan.”
The rocket attack directed at Tajikistan may not have inflicted any significant damage or caused any casualties, however, ISKP views the event, as well as the similar attack aimed at Uzbekistan shortly before, as important as it seeks to undermine international confidence in the Taliban’s ability to provide security and to create a chill effect for foreign investment. The group is quite explicit about this strategy, bragging how “the murtad Taliban militia could not assure their Tajik master after they had assured their Uzbek masters in response to the Islamic State’s rocket attacks on them, and similarly, they cannot continue to lie to China, Iran, and other tawaghit neighbours”. Driving their threat home, ISKP thunders that “Uzbekistan and Tajikistan should not consider this latest attack as the last one, rather they should wait for the flames of war to reach their doorsteps in their cities and houses.”
The group announces their ambition of future operational geographical expansion into Chinese and Iranian territory: “By the will of Allah, soon the Islamic State’s warriors will attack the modern cities of China to avenge the Uyghur Muslims and similarly, very soon the blood of Iranian majoos will be shed on their streets too, provided that the flames of fire has already reached Pakistan and it is increasing and spreading day by day.” They later declare that “after the turn of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, it will be the turn of China and Iran” and that “the dark days of deadly attacks and blood sheds are knocking at … their doorsteps”.
The new magazine issue is very much a critique of the “apostate Taliban”, accusing the now-government of being created and controlled by Pakistani ISI and American CIA. ISKP asserts the Taliban “do the job as America’s spy” and are “now being commanded by America” and impugns them for “living in the luxurious hotels, giving interviews to semi-naked or almost naked women, drinking wine, and with full dedication pledging peace and security to America and their kufri allies”. Further, the Taliban are criticized for “making secret agreements with the western kuffar and Russia, the murderers of millions [of] Muslims,” while, conversely, IS has taken up arms and openly “declared war against all the Kufar including Russia and are currently fighting them”.
ISKP frames the Taliban as abiding by a “nationalistic ideology” and acting in accordance with “patriotic beliefs” rather than promoting a fundamentally Islamic worldview and religious governing style. Instead of the latter, it is argued, the Taliban “is completely bound to international law and have allied with the nations of disbelief.”
ISKP lambasts how the “Taliban is not allowed to show even sympathy to those Muslims who are outside of their country, since it will be the act of interfering into the internal matters of other countries.” Such insular and non-interventionist principles thus rule out any notion of leveraging Afghan state and military power toward “avenging the Uyghur Muslims or freeing Uyghur Muslims from the hands of the communist regime of China”. In fact, ISKP purports, not only are the Taliban derelict on this issue, but they are even actively pursuing positive diplomatic relations with Beijing despite their harsh treatment of Xinjiang’s Muslim population.
They point out how, after nearly a year in power, the Taliban has failed to implement Sharia and is “protecting shirki shrines, shirki festivals” while they only seem to “raid” and “kill” Muslims. The “apostate Taliban militia welcomes Russians, those who killed millions of Muslims, [and] disrespected millions of Uyghur Muslims’ honor” by “maintaining good relations” with the Chinese who they similarly lambaste as “the destroyers of chastity of [a] million Uyghur Muslims”. Yet, the Taliban show no intention to “free eastern Turkistan” and even goes so far as to act to “protect Chinese occupiers”.
The issue concludes with a brief article on the Taliban’s perceived cordial relations with India and Afghanistan’s domestic Hindu communities, scorning the IEA for declaring “their solid friendship with Hindu polytheists in exchange of the disrespect of the Prophet.” ISKP claims the Taliban is “working hard to implement the Pakistani version of Islam designed by ISI and CIA in US intelligence headquarters of Qatar.” Thus, they refuse to “avenge the dishonor of the Prophet and befriend [those] who attacked his honor” by “[sending] gifts [to] Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping instead of oppressed Indian and Uyghur Muslims.” The Taliban, they say, “prefer national interests over Islam” and are willing to forego ever using their power and influence to aid their co-religionists.
In contrast, the Islamic State views their own movement as “free from all forms of disbelief, polytheism, and apostasy,” adding that “every polytheist, apostate, and disbeliever – in any form – is the enemy of the mujahideen of the Khilafah”. They close with a threat in perpetuity: “as long as one of us is alive; we will take revenge on each and every oppressor, by the will of Allah … so, wait for a heavy reckoning!”