03/27/2024, 09.23
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The Vilayat Khorasan between Russia and Tajikistan

by Vladimir Rozanskij

The Isis cell in the region between Afghanistan and Central Asia sees Russia as the main support for its two worst enemies, the regimes in Kabul and Tehran. While in Tajikistan, President Rakhmon stigmatises the high number of Tajiks among the militia, but according to his opponents their radicalisation is the effect of his twenty years of repression.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The ISIS cell linked to Afghanistan, the Vilayat Khorasan known as "Isis-K", immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on the Krokus City Hall on the outskirts of Moscow with the massacre of 137 people and hundreds injured.

The authenticity of these statements is also supported by the videos shot by the terrorists themselves, despite the attempts of Putin and the Russians to direct suspicion on the "Ukrainian Nazis" who would train terrorists against Russia on behalf of the Americans and the entire West .

ISIS-K appeared for the first time in 2014, as a group supporting ISIS in Iraq, and the name "Khorasan" recalls a region that later disappeared which extended across the territories of Afghanistan, Iran and other areas of Central Asia .

Its adherents operated in the northern and eastern areas of Afghanistan, but in 2019 they were overwhelmed in the fighting against both the Taliban and the Western coalition still present in the country. However, a 2023 UN Security Council report spoke of a growth of the movement, which had exceeded 6,000 militiamen, gathering citizens from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia, Turkey, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

According to military analyst and Israeli police officer Sergei Migdal, the attack in Moscow was most likely organized by the Afghan-Tajik wing of ISIS-K. In his opinion, “the shameful retreat of the Americans in 2021 then allowed the Taliban government in Kabul to show itself as friends of Russia, and its members with long beards who walk freely at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum will soon participate in musical competitions or sportsmen together with the Belarusians and the Chinese". Khorasan would actually react to this situation, remaining historically an opponent of the Taliban, deemed "too soft" in pursuing the true purity of radical Islam.

ISIS also appears to be opposed to the Iranian Islamic regime, which has itself become one of Russia's main partners in the Middle East. This would be the reason for the attack carried out in January during the ceremony for the anniversary of the killing of General Qasem Soleimani, where over one hundred people died following the explosions caused by Vilayat Khorasan.

“Russia supports the Taliban and the Iranians because they are against America, certainly not for love of Islamic practices – observes Migdal – and ISIS with its Afghan section sees Russia as the main support for its two worst enemies, the regimes of Kabul and Tehran”. A few months ago there was also an attack against the Russian embassy in Afghanistan.

Tajikistan is particularly suffering from this tangle of hostility, as it sees many of its citizens joining the Afghan troops of ISIS, given the impossibility of expressing radical Islamic positions within the country.

According to President Emomali Rakhmon, in the last three years alone, attacks have been carried out in 10 different states with the participation of 24 Tajik citizens, who are often recruited even just for money, exploiting their ethnic proximity and religious tendencies.

This certainly does not help the reputation of a country already considered one of the worst dictatorships in Central Asia, which must also suffer the shame of being associated with terrorism and extremism.

Rakhmon's opponents, mostly abroad or in prison, believe that the radicalization of Tajiks is precisely the effect of twenty years of repression, which prevents any form of free expression of thought.

Furthermore, state policy pushes migrants towards Russia, where an estimated 1.5 to 2.5 million Tajiks live; last year alone, 174 thousand of them obtained Russian citizenship.

Now the Krokus massacre has cast a further shadow over the entire Tajik community in Russia, provoking great hostility towards them, and thus cultivating an increasingly open terrain for the war of all against all.

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