Tracing the roots of the Islamic State group in Afghanistan

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The US military has said its airstrike on Sunday on a vehicle in Kabul has prevented a new attack on the capital’s airport by the Afghan branch of the so-called Islamic State (IS) group who claimed responsibility for last Thursday’s suicide bombing there which left an estimated 170 people dead. But just who are the Afghan IS branch, known as the IS-K? Jean-Pierre Perrin details their history, beginning in 2014 when Pakistani jihadists crossed into Afghanistan and soon became a rival for the Taliban.

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Hitherto largely overshadowed by the Taliban, the Afghan branch of the so-called Islamic State group last week emerged into the forefront of the horror and chaos that has followed the US pull-out from Afghanistan when it claimed responsibility for last Thursday’s suicide bombing among crowds seeking evacuation at Kabul’s international airport, when an estimated 170 people, including 13 US marines, were killed.