The al-Azaem Foundation for Media Production, an affiliate of ISIS Khorasan, has released a new book titled, ‘Operating the Lights to Clarify Characteristics of the Kharijites’.
This description marks a radical turn in the way ISIS views the Taliban at the ideological level. It also reflects the reassessment ISIS is making of the Taliban at the political level.
Since the beginning of 2022, the Taliban has been trying to keep the lid on the dangers posed by ISIS.
This has been shown largely through the statements of the movement’s leaders.
Some of these leaders said that ISIS does not represent a threat on the ground in Afghanistan any more.
Through these statements, the movement seeks to prove that it is able to rein in armed groups on Afghan soil. It also wants to prove to the international community its commitment to the outcomes of the Doha Agreement which commits the Taliban to preventing the expansion of armed groups outside Afghan borders.
Despite these attempts, the opposite is manifested by repeated terrorist attacks by ISIS.
The terrorist organization launched over 260 operations in the past year, according to some estimates.
It is noticeable that the activity of ISIS has grown in Afghanistan, compared to other countries where the movement operates.
From the media point of view, the organization has significantly enhanced its efforts in the field of media warfare, especially after the current emir of ISIS Khorasan, Shihab al-Muhajir, took over in mid-2020.
The organization’s Khorasan branch has many active media arms that promote its ideas and operations, including Khorasan News, Tur Bergouna, Mulla Media, al-Azaem
Foundation, and Radio Khorasan. These are some of the most active media arms of ISIS around the world.
Over the past year, ISIS used its extensive visual publications to fight its opponents in various languages.
The organization uses Arabic and Pashto in these media arms whose activity has recently increased in the production of media materials in other languages, such as Urdu, Uzbek, Tajik and English.
Al-Azaem released the aforementioned book in Pashto as well.
The book describes the Taliban movement as Kharijites, a new description that did not exist before.
It also carries new connotations towards the organization’s view of the movement on sides:
For the first time, the organization describes the Taliban movement as Kharijites, a term that has legal considerations in dealing with the movement, which the organization has been describing with other characteristics, including apostasy before the Taliban seized power and because of the movement’s leaders sitting at the negotiating table in Doha with the Americans.
ISIS Khorasan described the Taliban movement in Afghanistan as a bunch of ‘apostates’, considering the peace talks in Doha to have turned the Taliban from a fighting bloc to a group of negotiators.
Judging the Taliban as a bunch of ‘Kharijites’ gives ISIS the right to deal with the movement differently at the political level.
In this case, ISIS sanctions dealing with the Taliban in their capacity as the new ruling elite of Afghanistan, so long as they remain followers of the Islamic religion.