Young Radicals’ Dream of a Career in the Islamic State

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This Emerging Insights paper aims to explore how the same ideas and themes that are used by IS-K for recruitment and for ‘gluing’ members to the organisation might be recrafted for those members who are disengaging. The paper is primarily based on data collected during the STRIVE Afghanistan project, which RUSI implemented in 2019–24.

The Islamic State in Khorasan (IS-K), the branch of IS in Central and South Asia, has been actively recruiting for years, in particular in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In recent years, much of this effort has been online, but early in its existence (2015–18) the organisation exclusively recruited face to face. Some themes have been dominant in IS-K recruitment throughout, however, and are therefore worth investigating, so as to assess vulnerabilities that might make disrupting its recruitment efforts or undermining the commitment of its members easier. This Emerging Insights paper aims to explore how the same ideas and themes that are used by IS-K for recruitment and for ‘gluing’ members to the organisation might be recrafted for those members who are disengaging. The paper does not attempt to exhaustively discuss IS-K recruitment in all its shapes and phases.

Project sponsor

  • Funded by the European Union

    Funded by the European Union

    This publication was funded by the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the Royal United Services Institute and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union. © 2024 European Commission. All rights reserved


WRITTEN BY

Dr Antonio Giustozzi

Senior Research Fellow

Terrorism and Conflict

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