Accession Number:

AD1100984

Title:

Broken, but Not Defeated: An Examination of State-Led Operations Against Islamic State Khorasan in Afghanistan and Pakistan (2015-2018)

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

Corporate Author:

MILITARY ACADEMY WEST POINT NY WEST POINT United States

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2020-03-01

Pagination or Media Count:

95.0

Abstract:

Afghanistan and Pakistan became the home base for one of the Islamic States most dangerous and lethal affiliatesthe Islamic State Khorasan ISKapproximately five years ago. In the half-decade since ISKs official formation in January 2015, the group has been consistently subjected to a multitude of state-led operations in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Despite recent indications that ISK may notpossess the same level of potency as it did in years prior to 2019 such as a decline in its total number of attacks in 2019 and recent surrenders in Nangarhar, Afghanistan,1 it may be too early to interpret these developments as indicative of the groups complete operational collapse. However, as this report demonstrates, intense targeting of ISK in both Afghanistan and Pakistan has resulted in substantial losses for the group over the past four years, which is likely to reshape its strategic and operational behavior in the future. In Afghanistan, ISKs losses amounted to a total of 11,668 deaths, 696 individuals captured, and 375 individuals surrendered, which were primarily concentrated in Nangarhar. In Pakistan, the numbers were much lower, with a total of 433 captured and 104 killed, primarily in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa KPK. ISK leaders of various ranks were targeted in both countries, although the majority of these were located in Afghanistan, including all of its deceased emirs.2 ISK leaders in Pakistan were primarily killed or captured in regions close to the Afghan-Pakistan border,in close proximity to its stronghold in Nangarhar. Despite prevalent operations against ISK, the lack of a systematic review of targeting tactics against the group means that specific outcomes of these operations and their efficacy remain unclear. A few questions remain unanswered what is the nature and level of manpower losses incurred by ISK in various campaigns against the group

Subject Categories:

  • Unconventional Warfare

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE