Eurasianet reports that since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan last summer, Islamic State (IS) terror group’s militants have been causing embarrassment, claiming a drumbeat of violence that undermines the fledgling government as it seeks international legitimacy and investment.

A handful of poorly documented rocket attacks from Afghanistan over the border into Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have reportedly raised the profile of Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), the terror group’s local faction.   

The Taliban have shifted from downplaying the Islamic State threat to flagging its own battlefield successes, while insisting they alone control the Central Asian frontier, according to Eurasianet.

According to Eurasianet, a Taliban mole in June, penetrated a Tajik ISKP cell, leading to the death of the popular recruiter Abu Muhammad Yusuf Tajiki.

ISKP, which has positioned itself as the counterpoint to the ethnic Pashtun-dominated Taliban, says that al-Tajiki was the leader of a suicide-bomber training camp and taught the Afghan who killed more than 50 people at a Shiite mosque in Peshawar on March 4, and the bomber behind a May attack on a memorial ceremony in Kabul.   

On July 16, a Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, tweeted that Taliban special forces had killed three militants and detained five others in the Imam Sahib district of Kunduz province bordering Tajikistan, who are reportedly suspected of shelling Tajik and Uzbek border areas.  

On July 20, the Taliban’s General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) announced that its special forces had recently raided an ISKP secret flat in Kabul, killing two militants and capturing three others whom it described as “important foreign members.”  In addition to seizing weapons, GDI said the operation disrupted ISKP propaganda aimed at Tajik speakers: “The Tajik language section of Voice of Khorasan magazine was organized from this center.”

It is unknown how many Tajik nationals have joined ISKP or how many of these accounts are run by supporters from abroad.

A report released by the United Nations Security Council in June warned that ISKP “has increased its presence in northern and eastern Afghanistan. It also includes fighters from Central Asia, who have increased activities in the north.”

After the Taliban took Kabul last summer, neighboring Tajikistan said it would refuse to recognize a Taliban government until it integrated ethnic Tajiks, Afghanistan’s second-largest ethnic group, into the country’s leadership.  But Dushanbe would welcome a Taliban campaign against ISKP radicals, whom it has accused of several attacks on its own soil in recent years.