The US has announced a $10 million reward for information leading to the capture of ISIS-K leader Sanaullah Ghafari, as well as a $10 million reward for information about other terrorists responsible for the August 26 attack on Kabul International Airport, which killed more than 200 people, including 13 US troops. As per the US State Department, the cash payments will promote tip-offs that could lead to the arrest of ISIS commanders and militants in Afghanistan.
According to the Department of State, Ghafari, also known as Shahab al-Muhajir, was nominated to manage ISIS-K in June 2020. He is said to be in charge of sanctioning ISIS-K operations in Afghanistan as well as arranging funds for the outfit. Ghafari was labelled as a “specially designated global terrorist” by the US State Department in November.
According to the US State Department, “an ISIS bulletin announcing his appointment identified al-Muhajir as an experienced military leader and one of ISIS-K’s’urban lions’ in Kabul who has been involved in guerrilla operations and the preparation of suicide and sophisticated strikes.”
Ghafari is in charge of approving all ISIS-K operations in Afghanistan and arranging funds for them, according to US security officials. In Afghanistan, the organisation has almost 4000 fighters. He is also known as Shahab al-Muhajir, is a former Haqqani Network operative who currently controls the Taliban government in Kabul, including the ministry of interior, which is responsible for overseeing internal security. Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Haqqanis’ leader, is Afghanistan’s Interior Minister and is wanted for a $ 10 million bounty. According to accounts, the Haqqanis and ISIS-K collaborated directly on several significant attacks over the last two years.
ISIS-K has increased assaults from across nation after the Taliban were captured in Kabul, increasing concerns about a possible resurrection of an organisation that might represent a worldwide threat. The rebel group has launched attacks against ethnic minorities and the Taliban across the country.
Increasing regional and global pressure for action has left the Taliban in a Catch-22 situation, in which the action required to reclaim funds frozen in the United States and elsewhere risks splitting the Taliban’s fledgling administration apart. The Taliban cannot be viewed as ignoring mounting diplomatic pressure to combat all extremist groups operating in the country, including ISIS-K, the anti-Pakistan TTP, and the anti-China ETIM, among others.
Whereas the Taliban have limited their fight to Afghanistan, the Islamic State has accepted the Islamic State’s call for a global war against non-Muslims, which has been embraced by the Islamic State in Afghanistan and Pakistan. ISIS chief Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was killed by a self-inflicted explosion during a US counterterrorism mission in Syria last week, according to the US. Despite the triumph, ISIS and its Afghan branch ISIS-K remain a major threat.