US President Joe Biden announced he will not extend the evacuation flights bringing desperate people fleeing the Taliban any longer as he cited the imminent threat from the terror group known as ISIS-K.
It is believed the faction are already operating in Kabul and its feared they could even try to down an evacuation plane using stolen missiles – with aircraft seen over the weekend deploying flares as they took off.
“Every day we’re on the ground is another day we know that ISIS-K is seeking to target the airport and attack both US forces and allied forces and innocent civilians,” Biden said.
ISIS-K are casting a long shadow over the operation which comes as the Taliban surged to power following the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
The terrorist group – estimated to be up 10,000 in number and originally formed in 2015 – have been a consistent threat to security in Afghanistan, carrying out brutal suicide bombings and vile ceremonial executions.
The “K” refers to the historical region of Greater Khorasan, which covers Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and others.
Despite efforts from the West, the Afghan government, and even the Taliban to fight them back – they are feared to try and seize upon the chaos sown by the country’s collapse.
They are led by terrorist warlord Shahab al-Muhajir, a former al-Qaeda fighter, who took power in April 2020 after their previous boss, Abdullah Orokzai, was captured by Afghan forces.
Al-Muhajir is said to be known as “The Urban Lion” due to his skills with guerrilla warfare and planning suicide bomb attacks in cities.
He is believed to have helped the ISIS affiliate gain a foothold thanks to his background which will attract local jihadists, including those in the Taliban.
ISIS-K’s most vicious attack is believed to have been the bombing of the Sayed al-Shuhada girls’ school on May 8.The group have been blamed for the attack which saw two improvised explosive devices and a car bomb explode outside the school.
Some 90 people – mostly schoolgirls between the ages of 11 and 15 – while 240 were injured in the explosion.
Other vicious attacks include the storming of Kabul University by gunman which left 22 dead and 22 wounded in November 2020, and a suicide bomber who blew himself up at a wedding killing 92 in August 2019.
Propaganda churned out by the group shows them posing with the traditional black and white flag of ISIS which became synonymous with the most repulsive violence when the group held power in Syria and Iraq.
And taking inspiration from the comrades, ISIS-K have also produced some similarly gruesome and slick execution videos.
Footage which has emerged has shown them beheading victims, and in one video they are even claimed to have used two children to kill prisoners in orange jumpsuits.
Other images show them training wearing the familiar garb of ISIS fighters as they wield AK-47s.