Korybko To Indian Media: The SCO Can Facilitate Intelligence Sharing On ISIS-K

OneWorld is republishing the full text that Andrew Korybko sent to The New Indian Express’ Pushkar Banakar in response to his inquiry about Korybko’s thoughts on the impact of Thursday’s terrorist attack in Kabul on India’s security.

ISIS-K’s Kabul Airport terrorist attacks are alarming because they show that this regional franchise of the world’s most infamous terrorist group is back on the offensive in a major way. It’s existed in Afghanistan for the past several years but never carried out such a high-profile attack before. It was tempted to attack the soft target of thousands of civilians swarming a public site that’s very difficult to secure and also take advantage of the global attention being paid to the West’s panicked evacuation from Kabul in order to raise awareness of its cause.

From an Indian perspective, officials must ensure that any potential ISIS-K cells in the country are identified and preemptively thwarted since the group lays claim to its territory as part of its envisioned “caliphate”. Having said that, this also shouldn’t be abused as a pretext to crack down more in Jammu & Kashmir, which is already very militarized as it is and thus presumably difficult for any group – whether ISIS-K or whichever other ones – to carry out kinetic action there.

Viewed from a broader angle, ISIS-K is more of a challenge to Pakistan than to India. Some reports have earlier claimed that a few of its members are from that country. In addition, greater destabilization in Afghanistan will most immediately affect Pakistan before it spills over into India, though Islamabad has gone to great lengths in recent years to protect its previously porous border by fencing it and building more forts there. Cynically speaking, ISIS-K can unwittingly serve to distract Pakistani attention away from India.

The bigger picture though is that this terrorist group is a threat to the entire region and even the whole world considering the fact that it targeted members of the withdrawing Western coalition during Thursday’s attack. The ideal scenario would be that the four most directly threatened countries – Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and the US – devise some sort of mechanism for intelligence sharing that could be also be open to others who might have additional information about the group.

One possibility is utilizing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) for that purpose, though this would of course exclude the US by default and it would be difficult to incorporate observer member Afghanistan’s role at the moment since no SCO members recognize its de facto Taliban-led government. Even so, the SCO’s members are united by their shared opposition to the threats of terrorism, separatism, and extremism so it’s currently the most realistic platform for at the very least bringing together Indian and Pakistani intelligence on ISIS-K.

An excerpt from this text was included in The New Indian Express’ article titled “Kabul airport blast no immediate threat to India, say experts”.

By Andrew Korybko Via http://oneworld.press/?module=articles&action=view&id=2187