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 Islamic State Khorasan Province

AKA: Islamic State in the Khorasan Province; Islamic State Khorasan; Islamic State–Khorasan; IS Khorasan; Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant–Khorasan; Islamic State of Iraq and Syria–Khorasan; Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham–Khorasan; Wilayat Khorasan; Daesh Khorasan.

The following information is based on publicly available information about Islamic State Khorasan Province (IS-KP). To the Australian Government's knowledge, this information is accurate, reliable and has been corroborated by classified information.

Basis for listing a terrorist organisation

Division 102 of the Criminal Code provides that for an organisation to be listed as a terrorist organisation, the Attorney-General must be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the organisation:

  1. is directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, or assisting in or fostering the doing of a terrorist act;
    or
  2. advocates the doing of a terrorist act.

For the purposes of listing a terrorist organisation under the Criminal Code, the doing of a terrorist act includes the doing of a specific terrorist act, the doing of more than one terrorist act and the doing of a terrorist act, even if a terrorist act does not occur.

Background to this listing

The Australian Government has not previously proscribed Islamic State Khorasan Province (IS-KP) as a terrorist organisation under the Criminal Code.

Terrorist activity of the organisation

Objectives

IS-KP is an officially-recognised Islamic State (IS) affiliate that adheres to IS's global jihadist ideology and follows an extreme interpretation of Islam which is anti-Western, promotes sectarian violence and targets those who do not agree with its interpretations as infidels and apostates. The objective of IS-KP is to establish the wilayat (province) of Khorasan as part of the global caliphate of IS. Khorasan is the historic name for the region encompassing present day Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia.

IS-KP has undertaken the following to advance its ideology and achieve its objectives:

Directly or indirectly engaged in preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering  the doing of terrorist acts

IS-KP directly engages in terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including assassinations, attacks using remote detonated improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and suicide IED attacks. Attacks claimed by, or reasonably attributable to, IS-KP include:

  • 16 February 2017: IS-KP claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack against a Sufi shrine in Sehwan, Sindh, Pakistan, that killed at least 72 worshippers and injured more than 150.
  • 8 February 2017: Six local employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross were shot and killed in Qushtipa, Jowzjan, Pakistan. Pakistani authorities identified IS-KP as responsible.
  • 7 February 2017: IS-KP claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack outside the Supreme Court of Afghanistan in Kabul that killed at least 21 people and wounded 40.
  • 10 December 2016: IS-KP claimed responsibility for assassinating a Pakistani counter-terrorism officer and wounding his son in Peshawar, Pakistan.
  • 21 November 2016: IS-KP claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack against a Shia mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed at least 30 worshippers and injured over 80.
  • 12 November 2016: IS-KP claimed responsibility for a suicide attack against a Sufi shrine in Kuzdar, Balochistan, Pakistan, that killed 52 worshippers and injured more than 100.
  • 20 June 2016: IS-KP claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, against a convoy of Nepali security guards working for the Canadian Embassy that killed 14 guards. The Taliban issued a rival claim of responsibility for this attack.
  • 23 July 2016: IS-KP claimed responsibility for a three man suicide bomb attack against an ethnic Hazara protest gathering in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed at least 80 people and injured over 230.
  • 18 April 2015: IS-KP claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack outside a bank in Jalalabad, Nangarhar, Afghanistan, where Afghan government staff and military personnel were collecting their salaries. At least 33 people were killed and a further 100 injured in the attack.

Advocating the doing of terrorist acts

IS-KP has publicly advocated terrorist attacks in order to further its objectives. Public statements in which IS-KP has advocated terrorist attacks include:

  • June 19 2016: IS-KP released a video statement praising the perpetrator of the nightclub attack in Orlando, Florida, and urging Muslims loyal to Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi to undertake lone actor attacks.
  • 30 May 2015: IS-KP released a video statement declaring that the group's 'Caliphate' is not limited to a particular country, but will expand across the world, and that it will raise the IS flag above Jerusalem and the White House.
  • 17 March 2015: IS-KP released a video statement in which its then-leader, Hafiz Saeed Khan, eulogises his deputy killed in a US airstrike and vows to 'take revenge for his blood from those disbelievers. We will give them a lesson they will not forget'.

Details of the organisation

In October 2014, six former senior Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) members pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In January 2015, then-IS spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani named the leaders of IS-KP.

Leadership

IS-KP's original leader, Hafiz Saeed Khan, was killed by a US Drone strike in Nangarhar in July 2016. His successor, Molve Abdul Haseeb, was publicly reported as his successor in November 2016. The central leadership comprises a Shura Council mainly made up of former TTP commanders.

Membership

A variety of authoritative sources estimate the total strength of IS-KP at between 9,000 and 11,500 members. This figure includes both fighters and support elements, with 7,000 to 8,500 members based in Afghanistan and the remainder located in Pakistan.

Recruitment and funding

IS-KP recruits primarily from disaffected former Taliban members and the relatively small number of Salafist adherents present in Afghanistan. IS-KP receives funding from overseas sympathisers via hawala networks; through its own criminal enterprises; and through direct subsidy from IS.

Links to other terrorist organisations

IS-KP remains an affiliate of, and ideologically aligned with, IS and continues to receive support and guidance from IS senior leadership.

Links to Australia

There are no known direct links between IS-KP and Australia.

Threats to Australian interests

No Australian citizens have been killed or injured in IS-KP attacks, nor has IS-KP specifically mentioned Australia or Australian interests as a target. However, IS-KP is formally aligned with IS, which has specifically called for attacks against Australia and Australian interests. IS-KP has called for attacks against Westerners and Western interests (which would include Australians) in Khorasan and Western countries. IS-KP has also improved its capability to conduct large-scale and complex attacks in Kabul, where Australians are most likely to be located in Afghanistan.

Listed by the United Nations or like-minded countries

The United States proscribed IS-KP as a terrorist organisation under the listing Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan (ISIL-K) in September 2015.

Engagement in peace or mediation processes

IS-KP is not involved in any peace or mediation processes.

Conclusion

On the basis of the above information, ASIO assesses that IS-KP continues to be directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts or advocates the doing of terrorist acts, involving threats to human life and serious damage to property.

In the course of pursuing its objectives, the IS-KP is known to have committed or threatened actions that:

  1. cause, or could cause, death, serious harm to persons, serious damage to property, endanger life (other than the life of the person taking the action), or create a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public;
  2. are intended to have those effects;
  3. are done with the intention of advancing the Islamic State in Khorasan' Province's political, religious or ideological causes;
  4. are done with the intention of intimidating the government of one or more foreign countries; and
  5. are done with the intention of intimidating the public or sections of the public.