Spearhead Special Report – 25.06.2019
By Hira A. Shafi
Senior Research Analyst, Spearhead Research
Daesh ascended to prominence in 2014 after making territorial gains in Iraq and Syria, the group projected itself as an Islamic caliphate and called on Muslims to pledge allegiance to the group. However, prominent Islamic scholars termed Daesh as Khawarij(excommunicated). Nonetheless, Daesh’s initial successes in Iraq and Syria, attracted the attention of various terrorist organizations globally. Some of the crippled terrorist organizations that had found a haven in Afghanistan pledged allegiance to Daesh as an effort to revitalize their organizations, ultimately leading to the genesis of Daesh Khurasan in Afghanistan in January 2015. Since its inception Daesh Khurasan has carried out a spate of deadly attacks resulting in several casualties across Afghanistan. Their virulent ideologies have not gained significant traction with majority of local populations. They also witnessed severe resistance from the Afghan Taliban and international forces. Despite that, the Daesh threat in Afghanistan is not entirely neutralized. The emergence of Daesh in Afghanistan has raised concerns for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states. The Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu while addressing the SCO defence ministers meeting noted that the presence of Daesh in Afghanistan could bring instability across Central Asia- by increasing cross-border crime, flaring terrorism and separatist movements. The aim of this paper is to explore the factors that which add resilience to Daesh in Afghanistan and assess the security implications of Daesh for the SCO member states.