Timeline: the Rise, Spread, and Fall of the Islamic State

The Islamic State – also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh – emerged from the remnants of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), a local offshoot of al Qaeda founded by Abu Musab al Zarqawi in 2004. It faded into obscurity for several years after the surge of U.S. troops to Iraq in 2007. But it began to reemerge in 2011. Over the next few years, it took advantage of growing instability in Iraq and Syria to carry out attacks and bolster its ranks.

The State Department's Role in Countering Violent Extremism

On May 30, Ambassador at Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism Nathan Sales outlined the United States and its partner's roles in countering violent extremism. "At the State Department, we’re focused on aligning civilian responses to terrorism with military ones," Sales said at the Hudson Institute. "That’s the only way to ensure the lasting defeat of our enemies." The following is a video and text of Sale's full remarks. 

What Do Deteriorating Security Conditions Mean for Afghanistan’s Elections?

On April 22, the terror group ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack on a voter registration site in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed nearly 60 people. The tragedy followed four other election-related attacks, including the abduction of three election workers in the central province of Ghor, over the last week.

This recent violence underscores the security challenges facing Afghanistan as it prepares to hold parliamentary elections in October.

UN Report on ISIS and Al Qaeda

ISIS continues to emphasize external attacks as a result of strategic military setbacks in Iraq and Syria in 2017, according to a January report from the UN Security Council Monitoring Team concerning the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Da'esh) and al Qaeda. The team concluded that the al Qaeda network is resilient and its affiliates remain the primary terror threat in some regions, including Somalia and Yemen.