Skip to main content

Australian National Security
You are here >> Skip breadcrumbAustralian National Security > > Terrorist organisations > > Islamic State Khorasan Province

 Islamic State Khorasan Province

Also known as: Islamic State in the Khorasan Province; Islamic State Khorasan; Islamic State–Khorasan; ISKhorasan; 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, 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 Act 1995 provides that for an organisation to be listed as a terrorist organisation, the AFP Minister must be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the organisation:

  • is directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, or assisting in or fostering the doing of a terrorist act
    or
  • 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 previously listed IS-KP as a terrorist organisation under the Criminal Code on 3 November 2017. IS-KP was re-listed on 3 November 2020.

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 as infidels and apostates those who do not agree with its interpretations. 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 and outside of Afghanistan, including assassinations, attacks using remote detonated improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and suicide IED attacks. Significant attacks for which IS-KP has claimed responsibility, and is assessed to have undertaken, since the group was last proscribed (in November 2017) include:

  • 2 August 2020: a shooting attack at the Jalalabad Prison Complex in Eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 29 people and wounding over 50 others. This attack resulted in the escape of up to 400 prisoners, which included IS-KP and Taliban loyalists.
  • 12 May 2020: a suicide bombing attack against a funeral in Kuz Kunar District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, which killed 32 people and injured 133.
  • 25 March 2020: a shooting attack against a Sikh temple in Kabul, killing at least 25 people and wounding eight.
  • 6 March 2020: a shooting attack against a ceremony in Kabul commemorating the death of prominent Hazara Shia leader, Abdul Ali Mazari, which killed at least 32 people and injured 58.
  • 26 February 2020: the detonation of two IEDs attached to motorcycles in Kabul, Afghanistan, injuring at least nine people.
  • 17 August 2019: a suicide bombing attack against a Shia wedding in Kabul, which killed at least 63 people and injured 180.
  • 20 April 2019: a combined bombing and shooting attack against the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology in Kabul, which killed at least seven people, including four civilians and three security personnel.
  • 7 March 2019: a mortar attack on a Shia memorial service in Kabul attended by politicians and officials, which killed at least 11 people.
  • 13 July 2018: a suicide bombing at a political rally in Mastung, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan, which killed at least 149 people and injured 189.
  • 26 June 2018: a suicide bombing attack against a local police camp in Kunar Province which killed 13 people and injured five.
  • 22 April 2018: a suicide bombing attack against a voter registration centre in Kabul, which killed 69 people and injured 120.
  • 31 March 2018: a suicide bombing attack that killed Kunar Provincial Council member Shah Wali Himmat and a religious scholar.

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 accepted the pledge of allegiance and announced the creation of IS-KP.

Leadership

IS-KP has suffered military defeats and territorial losses since 2017, resulting in fluid leadership, in-fighting among IS-KP members and an organisational restructure. As at July 2019, IS-KP’s leader was Malawi Abdullah, also known as Mawlawi Aslam Farooqi. On 5 April 2020, Afghan security forces announced Farooqi’s arrest.

IS-KP has strong ties to IS. Important personnel appointments are discussed with IS, and when required, IS provides direction to IS-KP.

Membership

Given IS-KP’s recent military and territorial losses, the surrender of IS-KP members and Afghanistan’s complex and dynamic security environment, it is difficult to accurately identify IS-KP’s current strength. A recent United Nations report has put the residual numerical strength of IS-KP at around 2,200 fighters clustered in small cells in and around Kunar, Nuristan and adjoining areas.

Recruitment and funding

IS-KP recruits primarily from disaffected former Taliban members, Pakistan, Afghanistan-based Salafists, and foreign sympathisers. Following territorial losses, IS-KP is increasingly shifting its recruitment to focus on disaffected, urban, non-Pashtun youth. IS-KP receives funding from overseas sympathisers via hawala networks, through its own criminal enterprises, and through direct subsidy from IS.

Since the February 2020 agreement between the United States and the Taliban, IS-KP is projecting itself as the only defiant jihadist group committed to jihad in the hope of attracting hardline factions of the Taliban and al-Qa’ida opposed to the peace agreement.

Links to other terrorist organisations

IS-KP remains affiliated to and ideologically aligned with IS and continues to receive support and guidance from IS senior leadership.

Links to Australia

Australian security and law enforcement agencies are aware of some Australian citizens who have possibly provided support for IS-KP, which in some instances has included an intention to travel overseas in support of IS-KP.

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 more generally, both in Khorasan and in Western countries. IS-KP maintains the capability to conduct mass-casualty attacks in Kabul, where Australians are most likely to be located in Afghanistan.

Listed by the United Nations or like-minded countries

The United Nations Security Council includes IS-KP in the ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida Sanctions List. The United States designated IS-KP as a foreign terrorist organisation under the name Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan (ISIL-K) in 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, the Australian Government assesses that IS-KP continues to be directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering 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 actions that:

  • 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
  • are intended to have those effects
  • are done with the intention of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause
  • are done with the intention of:
    • coercing, or influencing through intimidation, the government of one or more countries
    • intimidating the public or a section of the public​​​​​​​