Taliban Challenged by Uptick of Islamic State–Khorasan Province Attacks

Taliban Humvee in Kabul


“The Taliban government has said that it has defeated the Daesh group and will not allow the terrorist organization to use the territory of Afghanistan to pose any threat to other countries… At the same time, the spokesperson of the US Department of State said that the Taliban should remain committed to the fight against terrorism.”


Despite counterterrorism efforts by the Taliban, the Islamic State–Khorasan Province (IS-KP) has been responsible for a series of attacks in Afghanistan since the new year. According to the first excerpted article from Pashto-language public service news Radio Azadi, the Taliban previously stated it had defeated IS-KP; however, recent activity by the group indicates otherwise. Since its inception in 2014, IS-KP has conducted bombing and suicide attacks against both civilian and government targets, mainly in Afghanistan and Pakistan, resulting in an estimated 309 fatalities in 2021.[i] In January 2024, IS-KP claimed responsibility for detonating an improvised explosive device in Kabul, killing two civilians and wounding 14 more. This was the second IS-KP bombing in Afghanistan in less than a week.[ii] These attacks followed the highly publicized IS-KP–-claimed attack in Kerman, Iran, on 4 January, which killed as many as 84 people and injured scores more. Iran called it the single deadliest attack in the country since 1979.

Recent reporting suggests Afghanistan is once again being used as a terrorist training ground—this time by IS-KP rather than al-Qaeda. According to the second excerpted article from the Saudi news source Independent, two IS-KP suicide bombers were arrested in Pakistan and accused of planning to bomb the leaders of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam and National Awami political parties.[iii] The captured bombers admitted to receiving training in the Paktia province in Afghanistan, a remote area that shares a border with Pakistan. The article further notes that counterterrorism talks continue between Pakistan and Afghanistan, intended to decrease tension resulting from disagreements on how to handle Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leaders currently residing in Afghanistan. Although weakened, IS-KP appears able to continue to stage attacks in Afghanistan and the region at large. The Taliban is situated in a delicate position in the region, with any potential missteps in its counterterrorism strategy leading to an IS-KP resurgence. Internal disputes in the Taliban government have led to some Tajik Taliban members in the northern part of Afghanistan being investigated for links to IS-KP. Additionally, the Taliban does not appear to have any intention to reconcile with communities formerly linked with IS-KP, which could be a source of additional recruits for the organization. Finally, there is an ongoing concern among TTP leadership about members potentially defecting to IS-KP should the group’s jihad in Pakistan end.[iv]


Sources:

 “کابل کې د ۲۰۲۴ کال لومړۍ چاودنه او د ملکیانو مرګ ژوبله (The first explosion of 2024 in Kabul and civilian casualties),” Radio Azadi (Radio Free Europe Affiliate), Accessed 13 January 2024. https://pa.azadiradio.com/a/32763886.html

At least two civilians were killed, and 14 others were injured in the first explosion of 2024 in Afghanistan, which took place in Dasht Barchi, a Shia-populated area west of Kabul. Khaled Zadran, the spokesman of the Taliban government’s Kabul police headquarters, said in a statement late yesterday that a caster-type vehicle was targeted in the blast. He announced the beginning of the investigation regarding this incident, for which no one has accepted responsibility. Before this, the Khorasan province branch of the Islamic State group or Daesh has accepted responsibility for some deadly attacks in the west of Kabul.

In the month of November, there was an explosion in Dasht Barchi that killed at least 7 people, and the responsibility was taken by Daesh, the Khorasan branch of the Islamic State group. According to the report of Agence France-Presse, although the level of insecurity has greatly increased after the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan, some armed groups, such as the Khorasan branch of the Islamic State group, or Daesh, are still considered a serious threat. The Daesh group also claimed responsibility for the killing of Dawood Muzamal, the Taliban governor for Balkh, last year. He was killed in a bomb attack in his office.

The Taliban government has said that it has defeated the Daesh group and will not allow the terrorist group to use the territory of Afghanistan to pose any threat to other countries. According to the report of the French news agency, the Acting Minister of Defense of the Taliban, Mohammad Yaqub Mujahid, last week announced a 90 percent decrease in the attacks of the Daesh group during the last year in Kabul. This is while the intelligence of the United States of America has said that the Daesh group in Afghanistan is involved in the bombings of the city of Kerman, Iran, last Wednesday. Two well-informed sources told the Reuters news agency last Friday that the communication information collected by the US proves that this attack, which killed nearly 100 people, was carried out by two attackers from the Khorasan province branch of the Islamic State group or Daesh… Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has denied this report while talking to the media. He said that ISIS has no capacity or presence in Afghanistan to plan any attack in Iran. At the same time, the spokesperson of the US Department of State said that the Taliban should remain committed to the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan…

Last Wednesday, January 3rd, explosions took place in Kerman city of Iran during the ceremony of Qassem Soleimani, the former commander of IRGC Quds Force. Iran has called it the deadliest attack in the country since 1979. A day after the incident, the Islamic State or Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack on Thursday and said that two of its members planted explosives on their bodies. The group did not say that this was done by the Afghan branch of the Islamic State group or Daesh…


“بازداشت دو مهاجم انتحاری داعش «آموزش‌دیده در افغانستان» در پاکستان (Two ISIS suicide bombers ‘trained in Afghanistan’ were arrested in Pakistan),” Independent Persian (Persian language Saudi Research and Marketing Group Agency media outlet), 13 January 2024. https://www.independentpersian.com/node/382361/

Pakistan’s Counter-Terrorism Department said on Friday, January 12, that two suicide bombers belonging to the Khorasan branch of the Islamic State (ISIS), who planned to attack Maulana Fazl-ul-Rehman, the leader of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Party, and Amil Wali Khan, the leader of the National Awami Party of that country, have been arrested. According to the Express Tribune, Najmul Hasnain Liaqat, one of the senior officials of Pakistan’s counter-terrorism department, said in a press conference in Peshawar that the two suicide bombers were arrested in Peshawar and two suicide vests, three hand grenades, and some explosives were recovered from them.

The official of the Anti-Terrorism Department said that the explosives of these suicide attackers have been neutralized, and they have confessed to planning suicide attacks against Maulana Fazl-ur-Rahman and Emil Wali Khan in the initial investigations.He said that these two ISIS suicide bombers were trained in Paktia province in Afghanistan and then went to Pakistan. Pakistan’s counter-terrorism department has not provided a document about the suicide training of these two ISIS members in Afghanistan. Taliban officials have not commented on this matter so far. But the Taliban deny training terrorists, including ISIS, in Afghanistan.

The Taliban call their suicide bombers “martyrs”. These forces have been trained in the training centers of the Taliban in such a way that they are ready to kill themselves to achieve the “dream of reaching heaven”. Among these suicide forces, there are a large number of young people who are waiting in line for a suicide attack and blowing themselves up on the way to the Taliban’s targets… Recently, ISIS has launched explosive and suicide attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. Maulana Fazl-ur-Rahman traveled to Afghanistan on Sunday, and met with Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Hasan Akhund, the prime minister of the Taliban, Maulvi Abdul Kabir, the political deputy of the prime minister of the Taliban, Amir Khan Motaghi, the foreign minister of the Taliban, Mullah Yaqub, the minister of defense of the Taliban, and other officials. Jamiat Ulema Pakistan has claimed that Mullah Yaqoob told Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman that the Taliban do not distinguish between themselves and Pakistan, and Mullah Yaqoob has expressed hope that the tension between the Taliban and Pakistan will decrease…The tension between the government of Pakistan and the Taliban regime has been formed in connection with how to deal with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The government of Pakistan wants the Taliban to hand over the leaders of the TTP inside the territory of Afghanistan and not to allow this group to use the territory of that country to attack. But on the other hand, Taliban reject the presence of foreign terrorists like TTP in Afghanistan. Senior Taliban officials have repeatedly said that TTP is Pakistan’s internal problem and that country must deal with it. Following the domination of the Taliban over Afghanistan, the number of explosive and terrorist attacks in Pakistan has increased. TTP and its allied groups are responsible for most of these attacks. ISIS is also trying to increase attacks in Pakistan. America has described the presence of Daesh in Afghanistan as a serious threat to the region and the world.


Notes:

[i] For additional information on IS-K’s history, ideology, tactics, and a summarized threat assessment, visit: Catrina Doxsee, and Jared Thompson. “Examining Extremism: Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP),” Center for Strategic and International Studies, 8 September 2021. https://www.csis.org/blogs/examining-extremism/examining-extremism-islamic-state-khorasan-province-iskp

[ii] See: “داعش مسئولیت دومین انفجار مرگبار در کابل را هم بر عهده گرفت (ISIS also claimed responsibility for the second deadly explosion in Kabul),” Radio Farda, 9 January 2024. https://www.radiofarda.com/a/kabul-isis/32768439.html

[iii] Pakistan’s parliamentary election is scheduled for 8 February 2024. A detailed list of political parties and their political affiliations published by the UK Government can be found here: “Country Policy and Information Note Pakistan: Political Parties and Affiliation,” Home Office UK Government, May 2023. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/645cb936ad8a03000c38b295/PAK_CPIN_Political_parties_and_affiliation.pdf

[iv] The ICCT published a recent analysis on the potential resurgence of IS-KP and the Taliban’s counterterrorism efforts at: Antonio Giustozzi. “The Islamic State in Khorasan between Taliban counter-terrorism and resurgence prospects,” International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, January 30, 2024. https://www.icct.nl/publication/islamic-state-khorasan-between-taliban-counter-terrorism-and-resurgence-prospects


Image Information:

Image: Taliban Humvee in Kabul
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Taliban_Humvee_in_Kabul,_August_2021_(cropped).png
Attribution: Public Domain


Pakistan Deporting Approximately 1.7 Million Undocumented Afghanis in Response to Terrorist Attacks

Flag of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan


“Suppose that the Pakistani government succeeds in deporting all Afghan refugees, will terrorism be eradicated? Obviously not.”


Pakistan continues to struggle with a series of terror attacks, leading the government to resort to mass deportations of Afghan refugees to curb the violence. According to the first excerpted article from the Pashto-language version of the German media company Deutsche Welle, terrorists carried out four separate attacks in Pakistan between 3 and 6 November 2023. The attacks, in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Balochistan provinces, resulted in the deaths of 17 soldiers, five civilians, with another 24 wounded. The article notes that ten militants were killed in response, and “security forces have received Afghan ID cards from six of the militants killed in the Zhob [Balochistan] attack.” Amid rising tensions due to the ongoing acts of terrorism, the regional government of the Balochistan province alleged that both border nations, Iran and Afghanistan, were involved in recent attacks to increase political pressure on Pakistan. No evidence was provided to substantiate these allegations. Pakistan’s proposed solution to counter the ongoing violence inside its borders includes the deportation of approximately 1.7 million undocumented Afghanis, some of whom have lived in Pakistan for up to 40 years, according to the second excerpt from the independent Afghan news outlet Hasht e Subh. As of December 2023, over 400,000 have left Pakistan.[i] A majority of the remaining refugees currently reside in either the Balochistan or Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces that border Afghanistan.[ii] The article notes that Pakistan has not been able to successfully contain the Pakistani Taliban (Tehreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan (TTP)) and has frequently accused the Afghan refugee population of collaborating with the TTP. The article alleges that the Pakistani military has used both the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban to further its own geopolitical agenda when convenient. Some Afghan refugees allege that the Pakistani government is committing acts of terrorism by expelling them from the land. A mass deportation of a long-standing population may also lead to an increase in grievances by that community and possibly increased support for the TTP and other like-minded groups, resulting in additional terrorist attacks.[iii] The mass expulsion of undocumented refugees has already created a burden on both the Afghan and Pakistani governments from an economic and human rights perspective.


Sources:

“پاکستان: په ۴۸ ساعتونو کې وسله والو ۴ بریدونه کړي دي (Pakistan: Militants have carried out 4 attacks in 48 hours),” Deutsche Welle (German news site), 6 November 2023. https://p.dw.com/p/4YRJH

According to security sources, militants carried out another attack in The Dera Ismail Khan district of Khyber Pakhtounkhwa yesterday, but this is the fourth attack on Pakistani security forces in the past 48 hours. Last night, police raided a police checkpoint in Ismail Khan district with heavy weapons. The exchange between the police and the armed forces lasted about half an hour, but the militants eventually fled. Police say they have cordoned off the area and are searching for suspected attackers. In the past three days, terrorists have carried out major attacks in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtounkhwa, Punjab and Balochistan provinces, killing 17 security forces, five civilians and wounding about 24 others, including police. Police claimed to have killed 10 people in the attack.

In recent days, attacks in different parts of Pakistan have increased. In the wake of the latest incidents, Balochistan’s regional government has claimed that two neighbouring countries are involved in the terrorist attacks because they want to pressure Pakistan. Balochistan’s Acting Information Minister, Jan Achakzai, told a news conference on Sunday that Pakistan was facing attacks “on both sides” but that it could not undermine the government’s will to defeat terrorists. He claimed that security forces had obtained identification cards from six of the militants killed in the attack. John Achakzai accused India of spreading insecurity in the region and that India’s intelligence agency, “Ro” is “involved in terrorist attacks in Pakistan.” Referring to the two terrorist attacks last week, he said: “We have repeatedly mentioned that India is involved in the terrorist attacks in the country, especially in Balochistan.”


“د کډوالو په اېستلو سره په پاکستان کې ترهګري له منځه نه ځي (Terrorism in Pakistan will not disappear by expelling refugees)” Hasht e Subh (independent Afghan news site), 5 November 2023. https://8am.media/ps/terrorism-in-pakistan-will-not-disappear-by-expelling-refugees/

The interim government of Pakistan has started deporting Afghan refugees en masse, which has provoked widespread protests. The interim prime minister of Pakistan has emphasized that all those illegal Afghan refugees who have been living in Pakistan for the past 40 years will be deported. This move has deepened the crisis which is not new for the Afghans and they have been dealing with it for decades. With the rule of the Taliban, the crisis of immigration has not decreased, but has expanded and increased… This has caused citizens to move to neighboring countries. This is not the only result of the arrival of the Taliban. The strengthening of terrorist groups and the development of their activities is also one of the destructive consequences of the Taliban rule in Afghanistan… The government of Pakistan, which is unable to control the TTP and has not given the desired result to the pressure on the Afghan Taliban to suppress this group, has increased the pressure on the Afghan refugees and accuses the Afghan refugees of terrorist attacks… There is no doubt that the Taliban is involved in many terrorist attacks in Pakistan and will continue to be in the future. But it cannot be that all Afghan refugees are considered terrorists or collaborators of terrorists and the solution is to seek their deportation. In reality, Afghan refugees have not only played an important role in the growth and strengthening of terrorism, but are considered the primary victims of the development of terrorist groups’ activities.

The terrorism that the government of Pakistan is using to expel Afghan refugees from their land today is the result of the deadly game that the soldiers of this country have skillfully played for years and the result was full of benefits for them. Thanks to the terrorist industry managed by the Pakistani army, the people of this country have not seen a stable civilian government and the army has control over all affairs. Terrorism is actually a pretense through which the soldiers introduce themselves as the saviors of Pakistan. If they are not there, the country will become food for wolves… It is not yet clear whether the TTP, as well as the Afghan Taliban, have really escaped the control of the Pakistani army or not; But what can’t be doubted is that the main threat to Pakistan is the soldiers, or to put it bluntly, the managers of the terrorist industry, not the Afghan refugees or the Pashtuns of this country. The Pashtuns on both sides of the Durand Line are the main victims of terrorism trained by the Pakistan Army.In the last few decades, one of the important tasks of the religious seminaries established in Pakistan with the support of the army was the training of the hard-line jihadi generation, who as proxy soldiers of the ESA during the invasion of the Soviet Union and also during the presence of the American forces in Afghanistan, the Pakistani army overthrew the western-backed government in Afghanistan and established its own proxy regime in the country. But now that the jihad in Afghanistan is over, according to the terrorists, how and where will the thousands of jihadists trained in the religious schools of Pakistan quench their thirst for jihad… Suppose that the Pakistani government succeeds in deporting all Afghan refugees, will terrorism be eradicated? Obviously not. The main supporter of terrorism in Pakistan is the army, which is in control of the entire country, and thus, the main source of terrorism in Pakistan is religious madrassas, which continue to operate whether they are children of Afghan refugees or not. and the army does not care about them. Are only Afghans committing suicide attacks? No. Pakistanis are ahead of Afghans in terrorism and extremism…


Notes:

[i] A supplemental report by the Associated Press detailing recent updates in the deportation of undocumented Afghanis in Pakistan: Sattar, Abdul and Munir Ahmed. “A Pakistani province aims to deport 10,000 Afghans a day,” Associated Press, November 30, 2023. https://apnews.com/article/pakistan-baluchistan-deport-migrants-afghans-7393238ace4c49acce9d7c77ebd708bf

[ii] For additional information on Afghan refugees in Pakistan, please visit the United Nations Refugee data website: “Registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan” United Nations Operational Data Portal. https://data.unhcr.org/en/country/pak

[iii] To learn more about the potential impact of grievances and their effect on terrorism globally, see:

Murphy, Natalie. “Why Grievances Matter: An Analysis of the Influence Grievances Have on Domestic Terrorism Globally,” Johns Hopkins University, [Thesis] May 2022. https://jscholarship.library.jhu.edu/server/api/core/bitstreams/0f722198-6850-4d16-8250-5fcad421430b/content


Image Information:

Image: Flag of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_the_Tehrik-i-Taliban_Pakistan.png#globalusage
Attribution: Public Domain


Pakistan Struggles In The Tri-Border Region After Multiple Terrorist Attacks

Location of the Mastung district in Balochistan, Pakistan.


“Recently, the insecurity and activities of militants have increased in different parts of Balochistan, and a number of security forces, government employees, and civilians have been killed in attacks and clashes.”


As attention turns to developing terrorism trends in other regions of the world, Pakistan has recently suffered a series of deadly suicide attacks in its Balochistan province. [i]

 According to the first excerpted article from the London-based, Afghan-run independent news outlet Afghanistan International, on 29 September, 59 people were killed, and more than 60 were injured, in a suicide attack during the Milad al-Nabi ceremony in Mastung, Balochistan. Milad al-Nabi is an important Muslim holiday celebrating the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.[ii] The Tehreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan (TTP) quickly condemned the attack and denied responsibility, claiming they provided information to Pakistan’s intelligence agency before the bombing. While the TTP denied this bombing, the pro-Pashtun group has been responsible for multiple deadly attacks in the province, as well as the greater Balochistan region.[iii] No group has claimed responsibility for this attack, though Pakistan’s Acting Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti claimed India was involved.

The second excerpt from the Pashto language branch of Radio Free Europe, Mashal Radio, describes some of the complex issues that Pakistan’s Balochistan province is facing. In addition to TTP activity, the Islamic State (IS) and Baloch separatist groups like the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) have claimed responsibility for multiple recent attacks.[iv] Pakistan’s Counter Terrorism Department conducted kinetic operations in the area, killing a prominent IS member days before the bombing in Mastung. Hours after the Mastung attack, an additional suicide bombing was conducted in Doaba, a small city in the Hangu district of Pakistan. It is currently unclear whether the attacks are related. Recent attacks in Balochistan province – as well as the greater tri-border region – have created a delicate security situation. The Taliban, IS, and Baloch separatist groups conducting attacks in the same area make it difficult for counterterrorism units to combat them effectively and accurately attribute attacks to the appropriate groups. Although Pakistan has stepped up counterterrorism efforts in its own province, the larger Balochistan region is remote and challenging for each country to police. Terrorist groups can base their operations out of Afghanistan or Iran and conduct attacks in Pakistan, with little ability for Pakistan to conduct follow-up operations inside bordering nations. If these groups gain a permanent foothold in the greater Balochistan region, transnational groups could use the area to coordinate international attacks or further destabilize the relationship between Pakistan and India.


Sources:

“المرصاد: طالبانو د بلوچستان د برید په هکله له پاکستان سره معلومات شریک کړي وو

(Al-Mursad: The Taliban had shared information with Pakistan about the attack in Balochistan),” Afghanistan International (London based Afghan run independent news outlet), 1 October 2023. https://www.afintl.com/pa/202310018517

Al-Mursad, a website close to the Taliban, says that the group had shared the information about the Baluchistan attack and other similar attacks and the names of those involved with Pakistan’s intelligence…. The previous day, 59 people were killed and 60 were injured in a suicide attack on the Milad al-Nabi ceremony in Mastung, Balochistan. Pakistan’s Acting Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said in Quetta yesterday that India is involved in the Balochistan attacks. But al-Mursad says, reliable evidence shows that Pakistan is carrying out the project of raising and strengthening ISIS as a proxy organization in Afghanistan and the region…. They [Al-Mursad] add in their report that Balochistan is considered a large and lawless area for ISIS in this country. Even before this, Daesh has claimed responsibility for some attacks in Balochistan, the last of which was Hafiz Ahmad, the leader of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, in Swabi last month. ISIS has not yet said anything about the Mustang attack.


Terin, Ayub, Majeed Babar, Shahin Buneri, Daud Khattak, “د مستونګ چاودنه کې لسګونه کسان وژل شوي دي

(Dozens of people were killed in the Mustang explosion),” Mashal Radio, 29 September 2023. https://www.mashaalradio.com/a/eid-miladunnabi-explosion-in-mastung-many-killed/32615419.html

[H]e did not say anything about the nature of the explosion, but the Reuters news agency quoted a police official, Munir Ahmed, as saying that the suicide bomber detonated near the “Madina Mosque” when people were attending the Milad ceremony. Achakzai said the government declared a state of emergency in the hospitals of Quetta after the incident…. A few hours after the explosion in Mastung, a number of people were killed in a suicide attack in Doaba, Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation condemned the attacks in Doba and Mastung in a statement on September 20. The statement says that the organization’s Secretary General Hussain Ibrahim Taha condemns “any form of terrorism” and expresses “full support for Pakistan’s efforts in the fight against terrorism.” This is while 11 people, including the spokesman and former senator Hafiz Hamdullah,were injured in a bomb blast in Mastung on September 14. The police had said at that time that Hamdullah’s convoy was going towards the Mustang from Quetta when an explosion occurred at the checkpoint. The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the Mastung blast…. The Pakistani army has said that four soldiers were killed in a missile attack on a security post in Zhob. The Army Public Relations Office (ESPR) said in a statement that the attack took place on the evening of September 28. It has been claimed in the statement that the missile was sent by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants from Afghanistan, but that group and the Taliban government in Kabul have not yet said anything in response…. Recently, insecurity and activities of militants have increased in different parts of Balochistan and a number of security forces, government employees and civilians have been killed in attacks and clashes. On the 9th of September, six local football players were going from Dera Bugti to Sawai in a car to participate in the championship called “Al Pakistan Chief Minister Gold Cup” when armed men kidnapped them. Before this, a soldier was killed in two attacks on the traffic police and the Levies force in the afternoon of August 16…. On August 13, militants attacked the convoy of Chinese engineers in the port city of Gwadar, after which a clash with the security forces began….


Notes:

[i] Balochistan has been conquered and divided by multiple empires, gaining partial independence in the 18th century, and is now divided amongst three nations, Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan—with other ethnic majorities. While not as commonly known as the Pashtun, Kurdish, or Punjabi people, the Baloch are ethnically, linguistically, and historically unique. Years of subjugation and marginalization – along with its remote and sparsely populated geographic location – have contributed to the fragile state of the region, allowing nationalist and radical Islamist groups to further destabilize the province through violence. For more information on the history of the Balochistan region, see: Mickey Kupecz. “Pakistan’s Baloch Insurgency: History, Conflict Drivers, and Regional Implications,” The International Affairs Review, 16 May 2012. https://www.iar-gwu.org/print-archive/8er0x982v5pj129srhre98ex6u8v8n

[ii] For more information on the Mawlid al-Nabi celebration, see: “Birthday of the Prophet: Mawlid al-Nabi,” The Pluralism Project – Harvard University, 2020. https://pluralism.org/birthday-of-the-prophet-mawlid-al-nabi

[iii] For additional background information on Tehrik-E Taliban Pakistan, see: “Tehrik-E Taliban Pakistan (TTP),” Office of the Director of National Intelligence. https://www.dni.gov/nctc/groups/ttp.html

 [iv] For additional information on the Balochistan Liberation Army, see: “Balochistan Liberation Army,” Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation, Updated 2019. https://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/mappingmilitants/profiles/balochistan-liberation-army


Image Information:

Image: Location of the Mastung district in Balochistan, Pakistan.
Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/39/Pakistan_-_Balochistan_-_Mastung.svg/1172px-Pakistan_-_Balochistan_-_Mastung.svg.png?20211017045741
Attribution: CC-BY-SA-4.0