What is Khorasan?


By Jaime Ortega.

Option one (Khorasan part of Mujaheddin from the Caucasus)

The Khorasan is a region that encompasses large areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Iran, and is considered by jihadis to be the place where they will inflict the first defeat against their enemies. This area composes of Caucasus Mujaheddin.

After al Qaeda’s defeat in Iraq, the group began shifting its rhetoric from promoting Iraq as the central front in their jihad and have placed the focus on the Khorasan.

Is not certain that Khorasan terrorist militants originated from central Asia , but the group’s name originates from there.

Taliban fighters have fought alongside Al-Qaeda seeking refuge in northern Pakistan constantly hit by US drones, so it is possible that they jointed into ‘one cell’.

During 2012, an al Qaeda operative based along the Afghan-Pakistani border claimed that although US drone strikes have had an impact on the terror group’s operations, it were “still standing in Khorasan.”

The statement was given by Abu Zubaydah al Lubnani, a Lebanese al Qaeda operative, in an interview published on jihadist web forums. Lubnani’s interview was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

It is possible that this group could have being operating for over 6 years inside Pakistan. Sending recruits and veterans to Syria, to fight against Al-Assads regime.


Option 2 (Khorasan part of Al-Qaeda)

According to the AP

The group composes of  jihadis from Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Europe — poses a more direct and imminent threat to the United States, working with Yemeni bomb-makers to target U.S. aviation, American officials say.

At the center is a cell known as the Khorasan group, a cadre of veteran al-Qaida fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan who traveled to Syria to link up with the al-Qaida affiliate there, the Nusra Front.

But the Khorasan militants did not go to Syria principally to fight the government of President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials say. Instead, they were sent by al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to recruit Europeans and Americans whose passports allow them to board a U.S.-bound airliner with less scrutiny from security officials.

In addition, according to classified U.S. intelligence assessments, the Khorasan militants have been working with bomb-makers from al-Qaida’s Yemen affiliate to test new ways to slip explosives past airport security. The fear is that the Khorasan militants will provide these sophisticated explosives to their Western recruits who could sneak them onto U.S.-bound flights.

Option 3 (Khorasan part of ISIS)

Other reports explain that Al-Qaeda is currently not related with Khorasan, and like the Islamic State, they branched originally from Al-Qaeda only to pledge loyalty to the new caliph Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, not recognized by Al-Zawahiri.

“The global jihad movement split in two on April. Members of al-Qaeda will now had to choose between two different emirs. The so-called “Khorasan pledge” was the final nail in the coffin of the reconciliation between al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The rift no longer pertains to Syria only, but has spread to the other arenas of global jihad,” 

Nine al-Qaeda emirs from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran declared their allegiance to the new emir of the faithful, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – the head of ISIS – in what is being termed as the “Khorasan pledge.” A few days later, ISIS spokesperson Mohammed al-Adnani declared that “al-Qaeda deviated from the rightful course,” indicating that “it is not a dispute about who to kill or who to give your allegiance. It is a question of religious practices being distorted and an approach veering off the right path.”

This is a turning point in the clash – currently limited to the Syrian arena – between Baghdadi and Ayman al-Zawahiri, threatening to create an open conflict throughout jihadist movement. The anticipated split had been declared by ISIS advisor Abu Ali al-Anbari. “Either we eliminate them or they will eliminate us,” he said in one of the reconciliation sessions, repeating the sentence three times.


What is Khorasan?

The Khorasan Pledge could be a program, ideology or simply a cell; But regardless of the outcome, they are not affiliated with Al-Qaeda anymore and seem to be part of ISIS agenda to draft new recruits worldwide,’if’ indeed it is a program. 

What Next?

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