Islamic State in Khorasan Province or ISKP is a jihadist outfit comprising Uzbek, Tajik and Uighur militants from Central Asian post-Soviet countries and China’s province of Xinjiang. Although in the recent days, ISKP has become distinguished from other foreign fighters by their sophisticated jihadists tactics challenging the Afghan Taliban regime, this group now is plotting series of jihadist attacks targeting several cities and towns in China and Russia.
It may be mentioned here that, following Joe Biden’s humiliating retreat from Afghanistan, the Uighur and Tajik jihadists of the Islamic State of Khorasan Province in particular carried out several high-profile suicide attacks on Taliban forces, a Hazaras Shiite minority and a tiny Sikh community, thus quickly transforming them into a growing power of the jihadist landscape in the region. Through the recruitment of foreign fighters, which is known as ‘Muhajireen’, ISKP’s modus operandi evolved both in terms of local propaganda and expansion of geography of the cross-border jihadist attacks beyond Afghanistan. According to information, ISKP also is forming alliances with other Islamist militancy outfits in a number of countries, including Jammu and Kashmir in India.
Along with the first attempts of cross-border rocket attacks on Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in April and May 2022, the ISKP Tajik fighters successfully adopted for the first time in Afghanistan a little known Al-Qaeda suicide bombing tactic known as Inghimasi, distinguished from common suicide attacks in its sophistication and fury of execution, which leads to a large number of enemy casualties.
An Inghimasi fighter is defined by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point as a “suicide fighter” or “those who submerse in enemy’s line with no intent to come back alive”.
On June 18, 2022, an ISKP Tajik Inghimasi fighter carried out a suicide bombing attack on a “temple of Hindus and Sikhs” in Kabul, which was described by local jihadi media as “a new jihadi tactic first used by Muhajireen from Mawarannahr (Transoxiana or modern Central Asia)”.
According to ISIS-Central media outlets, the Nasher and Amaq news agencies, around 50 Sikhs and Hindus and Taliban were killed or injured during a “sophisticated attack” carried out by its Tajik Inghimasi fighter.
An encrypted Telegram channel of Nasher News Agency, citing “ISIS military sources”, reported that the Inghimasi fighter named Abu Muhammad Al-Tajiki entered the Sikh temple after killing a guard at the entrance. Armed with a rifle, handgun and hand grenades, Al-Tajiki opened fire on the “pagan worshipers of the two sects” inside the temple. During the Inghimasi attack, other ISKP militants outside the temple detonated several improvised explosive devices and a car bomb on the “enemy positions”, preventing Taliban security forces from entering the temple. The Taliban soldiers repeatedly tried unsuccessfully to break into the temple and take out the Tajik Inghimasi fighter who fought with “enemy forces” for more than three hours until Al-Tajiki eventually blew himself up.
According to the Amaq News Agency, the ISKP Tajik Inghimasi fighter killed or wounded around “30 Sikh and Hindi infidels” and the temple was significantly damaged. During clashes with the Taliban forces that arrived in time for the temple, the “Lion of Allah” managed to kill and wound another 20 Taliban members and blow up several of their cars.
The Inghimasi operation, according to ISIS-Central media, was in response to derogatory comments against the Prophet Muhammad made by two Indian government members. It is worth noting that on May 26, during a TV debate, Nupur Sharma, the suspended spokesperson of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), made derogatory comments about Muslim worshipers and the Prophet Muhammad and mocked her Muslim rivals.
Also, Islamic State has repeatedly condemned the Taliban government for its collaboration and meetings with Indian government officials, whom ISKP’s local Al-Azaim Media Foundation and “Voice of Khurasan” magazine often mocked as “Descendants of Cows,” “Cow Pagans”, “Sikh and Hindu Mushrikin (polytheist)” and “Enemies of Islam”.
Predictably, in accordance with the Islamic State’s strategy for media coordination between ISIS-Central and its Khorasan Province’s media outlets, ISKP-linked Movarounnahr Telegram channel provided more details on the Tajik Inghimasi suicide attacker in the Tajik language. Noteworthy, Movarounnahr is a pro-ISIS multifaceted local media that produces propaganda content in Tajik Cyrillic exclusively aimed at the Tajik Jamaat in Central Asia and Tajik labor migrants in Russia.
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