‘Wilayat Khurasan’: Islamic State Consolidates Position in AfPak Region'
Amid a series of government denials from Pakistan and Afghanistan regarding the presence of the Islamic State militant group in these countries and its ongoing outreach activities there, its expansion was corroborated by none other than the Islamic State’s spokesperson, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, on January 26, 2015 (The Nation [Lahore] September 5, 2014; Dawn [Karachi], November 11, 2014; Pajhwok, February 5). Al-Adnani, who is believed to be in Iraq or Syria, formally announced the establishment of Wilayat Khurasan (literally Khurasan Province, hereafter IS Khurasan), a reference to a historical region broadly centering on Afghanistan and Pakistan. This claim was made, in an audio statement entitled “Say, ‘Die In Your Rage,’” which was released by al-Furqan media foundation, one of the Islamic State’s media arms.  He also endorsed a former Taliban commander, Hafiz Saeed Khan, as its governor (wali) in the same speech. Khan had previously pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State, along with a network of other disgruntled Taliban commanders and foot soldiers.