A new US report on ISIS which seems remarkably similar to comments from Russia’s own intelligence chief is cautioning that the group’s Afghan affiliate is growing much bigger,and more dangerous.
The intelligence report cites unclassified intelligence suggesting the ISIS affiliate, also known as ISIS-K, has an estimated 5,000 fighters. This is roughly a five-fold increase from the estimates last year.
The new report suggests ISIS-K is active in Kabul, Nangarhar, Kunar Province, and some other areas along the northern border. Russia’s report similarly claimed large ISIS presences on the northern border.
A five-fold increase is huge, but not necessarily unlikely. Russia’s report suggested a lot of ISIS fighters that are now in ISIS-K territory had come from Syria, so it may be that progress in Syria has simply moved more into Afghanistan.