Circumstances in Afghanistan have drastically evolved and continue to do so since the Taliban came into power in August 2021.While initially there was ambiguity as to what the Taliban’s assumption of power would mean for Afghanistan in terms of domestic governance, political freedoms, human and women’s rights, counter-terrorism assurances, and an overall commitment to regional peace and stability, the past one year is perhaps an indication of what to expect from the Taliban in terms of policies. August 15, 2022 marked one year since the group came into power, and so far the group’s performance has been debatable to say the least. Afghanistan has seen an overall improvement in domestic security, with the exception of attacks by transnational terrorist groups.
The rising presence and threat of terrorism in Afghanistan emanating from transnational terrorist groups primarily the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), a regional affiliate of Daesh, has in essence put into question the Taliban’s ability to provide some semblance of stability and security within the country and along its borders. The ISKP independently as well as in collaboration with other regional terrorist outfits has been responsible for some of the deadliest attacks the country has witnessed in its recent history, targeting Afghan civilians, forces, and groups that oppose it, such as the Afghan Taliban. Since August 2021 to June 2022, ISKP has been responsible for more than 700 civilians deaths and more than 1,400 casualties. Moreover, the ISKP has not limited its activities to Afghanistan’s borders, in fact since August 2021, there has been a major spike in attacks by the group against Afghanistan’s neighbours, primarily Pakistan, followed by Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and more recently Russia. Thus not only raising legitimate doubts about the Taliban’s ability to honour their commitments regarding counterterrorism assurances but also their capability to deal with transnational terrorist groups operating within the country. Moreover for Pakistan, it has put into question its relationship with the Taliban, and whether the Taliban can prove to be reliable partners in ensuring that TTP does not use Afghan soil against Pakistan – which has not been the case so far.