Islamic State-Khorasan Criticizes Taliban in Statement Praising Russia Attackers

washington — The Islamic State-Khorasan terrorist group released a statement in Pashto on Monday glorifying Friday’s attack on a concert in Moscow and scolding the ruling Afghan Taliban for seeking relations with the United States, Russia, China and other countries.

The 30-page statement was published on social media platforms and sent to journalists on Monday, but it did not take responsibility for the Moscow attack. Instead, it focused on criticizing and mocking the Taliban in Afghanistan, which has long been an enemy of the IS-K group.

Islamic State-Khorasan, sometimes also called IS-Khorasan, or ISKP, is the regional affiliate of the larger Islamic State militant group, which took credit for Friday’s attack that killed 137 people.

Monday’s statement was titled, “After Moscow’s Attack: The Sorrow and Fear of Militias.” The “militias” is apparently referring to the Afghan Taliban.

The text of the statement is a fierce polemic against the Afghan Taliban. It also labels the Taliban as allies of the United States, Russia, China, Pakistan and Tajikistan. The Taliban condemned the attack in the hours after it happened on Friday, calling it a terrorist attack and a violation of human standards.

IS-K’s statement accuses the Taliban of embracing the values of “infidel” countries.

“Talib militias are now part of the infidel nation. It is, therefore, natural that they will sympathize with them and will share sorrows with the infidels,” the statement says, while referring to the Afghan Taliban’s condemnation of the Moscow attack.

The 30 pages of the text are embedded with pictures of the alleged attackers of the concert, IS-K’s other attacks in Afghanistan, and photos of Taliban leaders and ministers standing with U.S., Chinese, Iranian and Pakistani officials.

The polemic against the Taliban also references Russian attacks on Islamic State targets in Syria, asking why the Taliban expressed sympathy for Moscow.

“Has Russia this right to destroy our Umma [Muslims] mosques, seminaries, homes and towns with blind bombardment?” the statement asks.

ISKP was formed in 2015 by the disgruntled Pakistani Taliban in a region close to Afghanistan. The United Nations has said that as of June 2023, IS-K fighters and family members numbered between 4,000 to 6,000.

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