The Islamic State in Khorasan

Afghanistan, Pakistan and the New Central Asian Jihad

August 2018 9781849049641 296pp
Out of print
April 2022 9781787386266 296pp
Available as an eBook
EU Customers


So-called Islamic State began to appear in what it calls Khorasan (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asia, Iran and India) in 2014. Reports of its presence were at first dismissed as propaganda, but during 2015 it became clear that IS had a serious presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan at least.

This book, by one of the leading experts on Islamist insurgency in the region, explores the nature of IS in Khorasan, its aim and strategies, and its evolution in an environment already populated by many jihadist organisations. Based on first-hand research and numerous interviews with members of IS in Khorasan, as well as with other participants and observers, the book addresses highly contentious issues such as funding, IS’s relationship with the region’s authorities, and its interactions with other insurgent groups. Giustozzi argues that the central leadership of IS invested significant financial resources in establishing its own branch in Khorasan, and as such it is more than a local movement which adopted the IS brand for its own aims. Though the central leadership has been struggling in implementing its project, it is now turning towards a more realistic approach.

This is the first book on a new frontier in Islamic State’s international jihad.


‘An important and extensively detailed account.’ — The Washington Times

‘Excellent . . . the book brings clarity to the subject of terrorism and its nature in Afghanistan and Khorasan. It is a brilliant mix of journalistic account and academic research.’ — The Nation

‘The book has a number of vital implications for peace in the region … Giustozzi is an astute observer of the conflict in Afghanistan and its many participants.’ — Texas National Security Review

‘Drawing on incredible field research, and full of unique insight, this book explains how the Islamic State unexpectedly took root in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It reveals in detail the complex and mostly troubled relations between IS-K and the Taliban in both countries. This is yet another “must-read” study by Giustozzi, the great chronicler of the ongoing Afghan conflict.’ — Theo Farrell, Executive Dean of Law, Humanities and the Arts at the University of Wollongong, Australia, author of Unwinnable: Britain’s War in Afghanistan, 2001-2014

‘This is the first book on the Islamic State’s Khorasan branch and will be a go-to-guide for many years to come. Giustozzi has pulled together primary sources, original materials and first hand journalistic accounts to describe the emergence, composition and structure of the Islamic State group in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. A highly important scholarly contribution, it is essential reading for all those who want to understand the complexities of violent extremism in South and Central Asia.’ —  Dawood Azami, PhD, Multi-Media Editor, BBC World Service


Antonio Giustozzi is Senior Research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, and Visiting Professor at King's College London, with a PhD from the London School of Economics. His eleven books are published by Hurst, most recently The Islamic State in Khorasan: Afghanistan, Pakistan and the New Central Asian Jihad.  

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