Taliban vs ISIS-K: Why the contest is so dangerous

Competition for influence and fighters depends on performance, setting the stage for more and bolder attacks

President Joe Biden, his wife Jill Biden and American officials watching as the remains of a Marine Corps serviceman, a victim of the ISIS-K attack on Kabul airport are brought home to the US on Aug 29, 2021. PHOTO: EPA-EFE/US AIR FORCE

(NYTIMES) When President Joe Biden announced in the spring that America would withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by autumn, he spoke of terrorism threats - but never mentioned Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria's affiliate in Afghanistan.

In threat assessments about Afghanistan as late as April, the director of national intelligence, Ms Avril Haines, barely brought up ISIS-K. On Aug 20, Mr Biden mentioned the group in a speech on the last-minute effort to evacuate stranded US citizens and vulnerable Afghans after the Taliban had overrun Afghanistan.

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