Understanding the Rise and Resilience of Islamic State Khorasan in Afghanistan

1:00pm - 2:00pm


On Thursday, November 12 at 1:00 p.m. ET, West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) Assistant Professor Dr. Amira Jadoon provided a virtual talk on “Understanding the Rise and Resilience of Islamic State Khorasan in Afghanistan.” A recording of the event can be found at this link. If you have any questions, please email the START events team at start-events@umd.edu.

Despite significant challenges, in the five years since its emergence, the Islamic State Khorasan (ISK) has managed to successfully embed itself within the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, unleash a wave of terrorism, and endure despite intensive counterterrorism efforts. Between 2015 and 2018, counterterrorism efforts against the group resulted in significant leadership losses, amounting to a total of 548 leaders, including four of its emirs. Yet, the group persists; in 2018, ISK made its mark as one of the top four most lethal groups in the world and continues to threaten Afghanistan's security in 2020.

This talk delves into the case study of ISK, tracing the evolution of the group's operational capacity, as well as its losses in CT operations over the five years of its existence. The talk provides an overview of ISK's strategies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and outlines how the group has leveraged important alliances with local groups to remain resilient in difficult circumstances.

Dr. Amira Jadoon is an assistant professor at the Combating Terrorism Center and the Department of Social Sciences at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She specializes in international security, economic statecraft, political violence, and terrorism. Her research also examines the behavior of non-state actors, especially in South Asia, and the types of environments that exacerbate terrorist activity.

Dr. Jadoon is fluent in Urdu, Hindko, and Punjabi and conducted field work in Pakistan for both her masters and doctoral research. She has published in Foreign Policy Analysis, International Interactions, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict, Political Science Quarterly, among others, and has two forthcoming books on the global affiliates of Islamic State. Dr. Jadoon holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany, an M.Sc. in Economic Development from the London School of Economics, and a B.A. in Economics and in Journalism from the University of Iowa.