Sanaullah Ghafar, who is also known as Shabab al-Muhajir, has been identified as an “ambitious new leader” of the Islamic State Khorasan Province. His challenge is to hold off the vastly superior Taliban, which controls Afghanistan.
TTP emir Noor Wali Mehsud said that his group “is a branch of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” while traveling throughout Pakistan’s northern areas.
The Taliban has the advantage in all of the key areas, save one. The Taliban has state sponsors, terrorist allies, regional support, a marked superiority in weapons and numbers, and controls all of Afghanistan. ISKP can only match the Taliban in one area, and this the will to fight and persevere.
Haji Mali Khan was a top Haqqani Network and Taliban leader when he was detained by the U.S. in 2011. He was freed in 2019 in exchange for a U.S. and an Australian professor who were kidnapped in Kabul in 2016.
Qari Baryal led an element of the Kabul Attack Network, which attacked Coalition and Afghan forces, as well as civilians, in an around Kabul. He is closely allied with Al Qaeda and has received financial support from Iran.
With control of the Ministry of Interior, Sirajuddin now has the power to issue passports to Al Qaeda operatives and their allies, all in the name of the government of Afghanistan.
The Taliban appointed former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir as a deputy minister of defense, while Ibrahim Sadr, who has worked closely with Iran in the past, was named a deputy minister of the interior for security.
The Taliban has announced the “interim” leadership of its newly restored Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. FDD’s Lpng War Journal profiles 22 of these figures, many of whom were sanctioned by the U.N. in 2001, are designated terrorists, or are former Guantanamo detainees. Multiple Taliban leaders have worked with al Qaeda.