Terrorist Groups in the Middle East Today

Aria Balani 

A terrorist is typically a civilian who has very extreme political or religious beliefs and uses violence to try and further their or their group’s agenda. Ever since 9/11, the concerned interest of terrorist groups has magnified in the U.S. As we marked the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, we also marked Kabul being seized by the Taliban days after the Biden administration ordered the withdrawal of the city. In the last twenty years, there has been an increased amount of terrorist groups and terrorist participation in the Middle East.

In the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, a terrorist group called the Islamic State-Khorasan Province (or ISKP) carried out an attack. There are multiple known deaths, including members of the Taliban. Further, “in the shooting attack, at least two Taliban fighters and a civilian were killed.” This event goes to show how much control and unregulated power each of the groups has.

The ISKP was formed in 2015 and is also known as ISIS-K. They are a prominent Middle Eastern terrorist group that the United States government classifies as dangerous. Their ideology is considered to be the most extreme of the groups today. In late August, ISKP said the group was behind the “suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport.” There were at least eleven U.S. military officials killed. Another attack took place in May of this year when ISKP attacked an all-girls school in Kabul. The event truly exemplifies how nothing is off-limits with these groups.

The Haqqani Network is a “semi-autonomous” part of the Taliban in Afghanistan and “an ally of Al Qaeda.” This is significant because Al Qaeda was responsible for 9/11. Founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, the Haqqani Network was “a key leader in the post-2001 insurgency.” Haqqani passed away in 2018 and his son Sirajuddin has since taken over. Sirajuddin has served as a “deputy leader of the Taliban since 2015.” UN monitors have described the Haqqani Network as the “primary liaison” for the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The Haqqani Network is said to have executed some of the most deadly attacks of the Afghan war.

Al Qaeda Core is another terrorist group and has been on the United States’ list since 2001. The U.S. has been leading “raids and airstrikes on Al Qaeda targets” which has helped to minimize their effect on Afghanistan. These targets include the group’s leader Ayman al Zawahiri, his council, and deputies. In September of 2019, it was announced that the U.S. killed Hamza Bin Laden, son of Osama Bin Laden (the group’s founder). In April 2021, a DOD report said that Al Qaeda core leaders “pose a limited threat.” 

The cycle of attacks over the past few months seems to follow a pattern. The gruesome bloodshed is not solving any problems – it perpetuates and amplifies them. In many cases, it creates even more terrorist groups. 

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