Amid a rise in attacks in Afghanistan attributed to the so-called Islamic State (IS), the BBC’s Dawood Azami examines what kind of threat the militant group poses in the conflict-hit nation and the wider region.
How much territory has IS captured?
IS announced the establishment of its Khorasan branch – an old name for Afghanistan and surrounding areas – in January 2015. It was the first time that IS had officially spread outside the Arab world.
Within a few weeks, the group appeared in at least five Afghan provinces, including Helmand, Zabul, Farah, Logar and Nangarhar, trying to establish pockets of territory from which to expand.
It was the first major militant group to directly challenge the Afghan Taliban’s dominance over the local insurgency. Its first aim was to drive Afghan Taliban fighters out of the area and it also hoped to evict Taliban ally al-Qaeda from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, or absorb its fighters.
Yet despite efforts to energise battle-weary militants, IS struggled to build a wide political base and the indigenous support it expected in Afghanistan. Instead, it made enemies of almost everyone, including the Afghan Taliban.