SIGAR: The Islamic State has up to 3,000 fighters in Afghanistan

The U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has stated in a report that the Islamic State (IS) has between 1,000 and 3,000 fighters in Afghanistan. The SIGAR report, “Recent Developments in Afghanistan,” was prepared in April and published recently, provoking strong reactions from the Taliban.

SIGAR writes that the Taliban face increasing challenges to their authority primarily from IS-K and various anti-Taliban resistance groups, most notably the National Resistance Front (NRF). However, experts do not believe any group is capable of toppling the Taliban.

The report also highlights the presence of Al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban, known as the TTP, in the country. SIGAR states that “Afghanistan remains the primary source of terrorist threat for Central and South Asia, with several terrorist groups—including al Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and IS-K—enjoying a greater freedom of movement in Afghanistan owing to the absence of an effective Taliban security strategy.”

According to the report, the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan emboldened TTP and its affiliated groups to step up their attacks against Pakistan while using Afghanistan as a base of operations.

Taliban spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, issued a statement on Sunday, asserting that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has full control over the situation and will not allow any group or side to destabilize Afghanistan or use Afghan soil against any other country.

Mujahid further claimed that no foreign armed group is active in Afghanistan and that the Islamic State has been severely damaged and is on the brink of destruction. He suggested that the SIGAR report may be “the arbitrary actions of some groups in America” or that the United States wants to make the region unsafe and unstable in order to “take revenge of their defeat from the people of Afghanistan or to spoil the relationship of the Islamic Emirates with its neighbors and the countries of the region.”