After escaping Syria, the Islamic State (IS) emerged as a major non-state actor in Afghanistan. While the terrorist group was making efforts to consolidate its grip in Afghanistan since 2014, it became a powerful actor in Afghanistan in 2018-19 – further complicating the already complicated situation in Afghanistan. And when many were hoping that the peace deal between the United States (US) and Taliban would usher in the long-awaited era of peace, the IS made its presence felt by all actors. The attack on Sikh temple in Kabul resulting in the killing of at least 25 worshippers tells us that the group is still very much active in the country.

It is worth remembering that the Kabul attack is the second in this month. Before this, an affiliate of IS attacked a gathering of minority Shia Muslims in Kabul, killing 32 people. Some believe that the group’s ideology may be the reason for attacking minorities. However, this might be considered the wrong assumption by others. The group is attacking Kabul to challenge the Taliban who recently negotiated a peace deal with the US. The attacks make IS the first major militant group that is challenging the Afghan Taliban’s recently achieved dominance on the political map of the country.

Nevertheless, the two attacks this month give credence to the fears expressed by some about the resurgence of the group. Perhaps, the reason for concern was the lack of a concrete policy by all key stakeholders against IS. These two attacks in the capital of Afghanistan by escaped fighters snatch all the triumphalism from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who claimed last November that the group had been obliterated. The latest attack in Kabul paints a picture of a non-state actor that has a history of persevering despite territorial and leadership losses. And it is going nowhere if the Taliban, the Afghan government and the US do not include provisions for joint operations against it.