The United States government has designated the Khorasan branch of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as a terrorist organization.
The Khorasan branch dubbed as ‘Khorasan province – Wilayah Khorasan’ is the territorial scope of the terror group covering parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan but the loyalists of the terror group is mainly operational in some remote regions of Afghanistan bordering the Durand Line located between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“The Department of State has announced the designation of ISIL-K as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act,” a statement by the Department of State said.
The statement further added that the consequences of the FTO designation include a prohibition against knowingly providing, or attempting or conspiring to provide, material support or resources to this organization. The Department of State took this action in consultation with the Departments of Justice and the Treasury.
ISIL-K announced its formation on January 10, 2015, the State Department said, adding that the group is based in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region and is composed primarily of former members of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban. The senior leadership of ISIL-K has pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIL.
This pledge was accepted in late January 2015 and since then ISIL-K has carried out suicide bombings, small arms attacks and kidnappings in eastern Afghanistan against civilians and Afghan National Security and Defense Forces, and claimed responsibility for May 2015 attacks on civilians in Karachi, Pakistan, according to State Department.
The step by the State Department comes as there have been growing concerns that the terror group is gaining foothold in Afghanistan with the loyalists of the group attempting to consolidate their activities with the leadership of the group based in Syria and Iraq.
The officials have voiced concerns that the loyalists of the terror group is also attempting to create a regional base in Jalalabad city, the provincial capital of eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.