What is ISIS-K, the outfit claiming responsibility for deadly Moscow attack? | World News - Hindustan Times
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What is ISIS-K, the outfit claiming responsibility for deadly Moscow attack?

Mar 23, 2024 02:22 PM IST

Moscow attack: At least 60 people were killed and over 100 people were injured in the attack by Camouflage-clad gunmen.

Moscow attack: The United States on Saturday said that it has intelligence confirming the role of a branch of the Islamic State (ISIS) behind the deadly shooting attack at a concert near Moscow.

A view shows the burning Crocus City Hall concert hall following the shooting incident in Krasnogorsk, outside Moscow, on March 22, 2024.(AFP)
A view shows the burning Crocus City Hall concert hall following the shooting incident in Krasnogorsk, outside Moscow, on March 22, 2024.(AFP)

At least 60 people were killed and over 100 people were injured in the attack by Camouflage-clad gunmen. The assailants stormed the venue with guns and incendiary devices, causing chaos and destruction.

The Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K) said in a statement that it attacked a large gathering of “Christians” in Krasnogorsk on Moscow's outskirts, killing and wounding hundreds. The authenticity of the statement has not been verified yet.

Also Read | Moscow attack: Eyewitnesses recount terror in Russia concert hall

Here's what we know about the Islamic State's Afghan branch known as Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) and their motives for attacking Russia:

What is ISIS-K?


Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K), named after an old term for the region that included parts of Iran, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, emerged in eastern Afghanistan in late 2014, reports Reuters.

The regional affiliate of the Islamic State militant group is known for extreme brutality.

Despite a peak in membership around 2018, it has seen a decline due to Taliban and US efforts.

Also Read | Moscow terror attack: How the world reacted to shooting in Russia concert hall

One of the most active regional affiliates of the Islamic State militant group, ISIS-K has seen its membership decline since peaking around 2018. The Taliban and US forces inflicted heavy losses.

However, the US has said its ability to develop intelligence against extremist groups in Afghanistan such as ISIS-K has been reduced since the withdrawal of its troops from the country in 2021.

ISIS-K attacks in the past

ISIS-K, known for its attacks worldwide, recently carried out twin bombings in Iran, killing nearly 100.

In 2022, they claimed the deadly suicide bombing at the Russian embassy in Kabul.

Prior to that, in 2021, they attacked Kabul's airport, killing 13 US troops and civilians during the chaotic evacuation of the country's forces.

Earlier this month, A top US general in the Middle East had warned that ISIS-K could attack US and Western interests outside of Afghanistan "in as little as six months and with little to no warning", according to Reuters.

Why would ISIS-K carry out an attack in Russia?

Experts point out that the group has in recent years opposed Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"ISIS-K has been fixated on Russia for the past two years, frequently criticizing Putin in its propaganda," Reuters quoted Colin Clarke of Soufan Center, a Washington-based research group, as saying.

Michael Kugelman of the Washington-based Wilson Center also said that ISIS-K "sees Russia as being complicit in activities that regularly oppress Muslims."

He adds that the group also counts as members a number of Central Asian militants with their own grievances against Moscow.

(Inputs from Reuters)

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