A United Nations (UN) special envoy to Afghanistan presented a comprehensive report to the institution’s Security Council on Wednesday, Nov. 17. She raised concerns about the advance of the ISIS-K terrorist group in nearly all 34 provinces of the country. 

Addressing the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Deborah Lyons said ISIS-K, also known as ISILKP, has expanded dramatically in the country since Kabul was taken over by the Taliban terrorist group in August.

Lyons began her report by stressing that the UN presence in Afghanistan is more than positive, even stating that ‘the Taliban themselves want their presence and value the help.’

She also highlighted the ongoing dialogue with the authorities, who, according to her analysis, are willing to negotiate and compromise on sensitive issues involving individual freedoms and universal rights.

After presenting an optimistic scenario in the first part of the report, she expressed concern about a long list of essential issues. They included women’s basic rights, girls’ education, extrajudicial executions, and other points on which the Taliban still do not give guarantees of accepting a change of course.

She also spoke about the deep economic crisis and the concern for citizens living with that issue.

“They are of course hugely concerned, the Afghan population, about the paralyzed economy, the inability to withdraw money, and fears of not being able to feed themselves and their children during the winter and coming months.”

But the special envoy mentioned a much more serious issue, which, if valid, would affect the security of the entire world and not just the Afghan people. She is concerned regarding the rapid advance of terrorist cells throughout the country. 

“This is an area that deserves more attention from the international community,” she told the UN Security Council.

“ISILKP now seems to be present in nearly all provinces and increasingly active. The number of attacks has increased significantly, from last year to this year. In 2020—60, so far this year—334 attacks attributed to Islamic State in Iraq and in Levant Khorasan Province (ISILKP) or, in fact, claimed by ISILKP.”

The Taliban, who claim to be public enemies of ISISK terrorists, say they are waging a concerted campaign against them. Yet, the results indicate that their actions far from improving the situation are making it worse.

Lyons’ comments come weeks after a senior Pentagon official warned that ISIS-K could launch international attacks in as little as 6 to 12 months.

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Oct. 26, Defense Department Undersecretary for Policy Colin Kahl said ISIS-K and the terrorist group al-Qaeda want to carry out international attacks.

Who is ISIS-K?

ISIS-K refers to the Islamic State Khorasan, formed in late 2014 and operates as an ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

According to a Forbes special report, the founding members were militants who left the Afghan Taliban and Pakistani Taliban after expressing dissatisfaction with leaders and former comrades.

The regional affiliate became known for ruling under a strict interpretation of Islamic law, using violent enforcement tactics, such as carrying out public executions, killing tribal elders, and closing schools.

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