With so much of the world awash in ISIS affiliated terrorism, BattleSwarmBlog has compiled a list of all the terror groups pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State.
Unfortunately the list is a “work in progress.”
According to this Intel Center list, there are currently 43 worldwide terrorist groups which have pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State. I started wondering how many of those were active, how many weren’t covered by that list, and what was the most recent documented activity of each. Hence this list.
I started with the Intel Center list, found the most recent activity (if any) for the group listed, added a few groups I knew they were missing, and alphabetized the whole thing (it was originally group by country). I don’t speak Arabic, so this list is not alphabetized the way an Arab scholar might alphabetize it. I’ve given alternate names and spellings where known, but this information is almost certainly not complete. I’ve tried to distinguish between similarly named groups, but it’s still entirely possibly I’ve gotten something wrong. Terrorist groups form, splinter and die-off all the time.
File all this under “first cut,” “incomplete” and “work in progress.”
- Abu Sayyaf Group [Philippines]: Attempts to arrest Abu Sayyaf head Isnilon Hapilon are what evidently set off the fighting in Marawi City.
- al-Ansar Battalion [Algeria]: Defectors from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), supposedly less than 10 fighters, and I see no evidence of recent activity. Not to be confused with other jihadist al-Ansar Battalions, such as those in the Syrian Free Army or the Ma’arakat al-Ansar Battalion in the Sulu archipelago of the Philippines.
- al-Ghurabaa [Algeria]: No recent news. Not to be confused with the UK radical islamic group of the same name.
- al-Huda Battalion in Maghreb of Islam [Algeria]: May have been absorbed into Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria (see below).
- al-Shabaab Jubba Region Cell Bashir Abu Numan [Somalia]: Bashir Abu Numan was a commander for al Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab commander who defected to the Islamic State with some 20 fighters late in 2015, and who was later killed by al-Shabaab’s Amniyat death squads. Possibly moribund.
- al-I’tisam of the Koran and Sunnah [Sudan]: Apparently no activity since January 2016, when some of its supporters were released from prison.
- al-Tawheed Brigade in Khorasan [Afghanistan]: Not seeing any under that name, but there’s lots of news about “Islamic State in Khorasan,” namely fierce fighting against U.S. troops over the last four months, with their leader being killed in an air strike.
- Ansar al-Islam [Iraq]: Appears to have merged with the Islamic State proper. Not to be confused with other groups named Ansar al-Islam, including a Bangladeshi group of that name affiliated with al Qaeda.
- Ansar al-Khilafah [Philippines]: There are reports that some 40 Ansar al-Khilafah fighters joined Maute for the assault on Marawi City.
- Ansar al-Tawhid in India [India]: Beyond issuing a call to kill non-Muslims in 2014, it does not seem to be very active.
- Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) [Phillippines]: BIFF is another group that seems to be participating in the fighting on Mindanao, and members were covered in a recent Filipino Department of National Defense arrest orders.
- Bangsmoro Justice Movement (BJM) [Phillippines]: BJM is a breakaway splinter from BIFF, and does not seem to have any notable activity since pledging allegiance to the Islamic State.
- Boko Haram (AKA the Islamic State in West Africa, AKA Group of the People of Sunnah for Preaching and Jihad) [Nigeria]: Still very active, and participated in a running gun battle with police in Kano Sunday. Estimates of Boko Haram’s size range from 4,000 to 20,000 fighters.
- Central Sector of Kabardino-Balakria of the Caucasus Emirate[Russia]: Can’t find any recent information. Presumably defectors from the crumbling Caucasus Emirate.
- Djamaat Houmat ad-Da’wa as-Salafiya (DHDS) [Algeria]: Another Algerian terrorist group that does not seem to have done much of anything.
- Faction of Katibat al-Imam Bukhari [Syria]: All the reports I can fund on Katibat al-Imam Bukhari seem to refer to them as an Uzbek Islamist group, some of which seem to be fighting in Syria under Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, AKA the Al-Nusra Front, which split off from the Islamic State, was at one time affiliated with al Qaeda, and now is theoretically independent of both.
- Heroes of Islam Brigade in Khorasan [Afghanistan]: See al-Tawheed Brigade in Khorasan.
- Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) [Pakistan/Uzbekistan]: Actively fighting U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
- Islamic State in Afghanistan: Not in the Intel Center list. Actively fighting against both U.S. troops and the Taliban. Reported to have ties to the Pakistani ISI, which wouldn’t surprise me at all.
- Islamic State Libya (Darnah) [Libya]: Egyptian warplanes hit them in May in response for their involvement in killing Egyptian Copts.
- Islamic Youth Shura Council [Libya]: Evidently still active in 2017. “Established an Islamic court and police authority in Benghazi. The group is notorious for decapitating swaths of residents from both Derna and Benghazi.”
- Jaish al-Sahabah in the Levant [Syria]: No recent news, possibly absorbed into the Islamic State or other factions in the Syrian civil war.
- Jamaat Ansar Bait al-Maqdis (AKA Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, AKA Wilayat Sinai, AKA Ansar Jerusalem, AKA Ansar Jerusalem, AKA Supporters of the Holy Place) [Egypt]: Turned into the Sinai Province of the Islamic State. One of its members was killed by Egyptian security forces last week.
- Jemaah Islamiyah [Philippines/Indonesia]: Very active in various bombing campaigns in Indonesia, but have evidently been relatively quiet since 2015.
- Jemaah Anshorut (or Jamaah Ansharut) Tauhid (JAT) [Indonesia]: Evidently the successor to several other jihadist groups in Indonesia, Stratfor describes it as “sputtering,” and the pledge of allegiance to al-Baghdadi caused several members to split into still another terrorist group.
- Jund al-Khilafah in Egypt [Egypt]: No recent news, probably merged into the Sinai Province of the Islamic State. See Jamaat Ansar Bait al-Maqdis.
- Jund al-Khilafah in Tunisia [Tunisia]: They recently killed the brother of a shepherd they had also killed in 2015. But the group is also said to be gathering strength in the mountains.
- Jundullah [Pakistan]: Jundullah carried out several attacks in Pakistan between 2012 and 2015, and is thought to be a member of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan umbrella jihadi group, not all of which have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. There’s a seperate Jundallah in Iran that has pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda.
- Khalid ibn al-Walid Army [Syria]. Not on Intel Center list. Syrian jihad group that merged with Martyrs of al-Yarmouk Brigade, also pledged loyalty to the Islamic State and reportedly controls territory in southern Syria along the Golan Heights.
- Leaders of the Mujahid in Khorasan (ten former TTP commanders) [Pakistan]: Not finding any recent information on this splinter group.
- Lions of Libya [Libya]: No news since they reportedly pledged their allegiance in 2014.
- Liwa Ahrar al-Sunna in Baalbek [Lebanon]: Claimed credit for a car bomb attacked that killed a Hezbollah leader in 2014. (Remember, as a Shi’a militia/terrorist group, members of Hezbollah are automatically on the Islamic State’s “kill on sight” list.)
- Martyrs of al-Yarmouk Brigade [Syria]: Evidently merged with other groups into the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, which has also pledged loyalty to the Islamic State and reportedly controls territory in southern Syria.
- Maute (AKA Islamic State in Lanao) [Philippines]: Not in the Intel Center list. The primary group responsible for the fighting in Marawi City. Reportedly led by brothers Omarkhayam and Abdullah Maute.
- Mujahideen Indonesia Timor (MIT) (AKA East Indonesia Mujahideen EIM) [Indonesia]: Do not seem to have been active after their leader, Abu Wardah Santoso, was killed in 2016.
- Mujahideen of Tunisia of Kairouan [Tunisia]: Not seeing any notable news since 2015, when they carried out a deadly beach attack.
- Mujahideen of Yemen [Yemen]: Possibly absorbed into the Islamic State in Yemen (AKA Wilayat Sana) proper.
- Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSCJ)[Egypt/Gaza]: Intel Center says Egypt, other sources say they’re active only in Gaza. Since Hamas has not pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, they seem to have been pretty thoroughly suppressed there.
- The Nokhchico Wilayat of the Caucasus Emirate [Russia]: Can’t find any recent information. Presumably defectors from the crumbling Caucasus Emirate.
- Okba Ibn Nafaa Battalion [Tunisia]: Two members were killed in a raid by Tunisian forces, but they were described as “an al-Qaeda-linked group.”
- Shura Council of Shabab al-Islam Darnah [Libya]: No news since significant defeats in 2014.
- The Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria (AKA Jund al-Khilafah fi Ard al-Jazair, AKA Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Algeria Province) [Algeria]: It’s possible that the June 6 Paris hammer attacker may have been a member. If not, they seem to have been largely ineffective. “For the past two years, the Algerian military has stopped 44 members of a local armed group called ‘Soldiers of the Caliphate’ that swore allegiance to the leader of Daesh, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.”
- Supporters for the Islamic State in Yemen [Yemen]: Like Mujahideen of Yemen, not a lot of news.
- Supporters of the Islamic State in the Land of the Two Holy Mosques [Saudi Arabia]: Nothing since they shot a Danish national back in 2014.
- Tehreek-e-Khilafat [Pakistan]: Though it has roots in a movement advocating resistance to British rule during World War I, evidently Tehreek-e-Khilafat has been amalgamated into Wilayat Khorasan, the South and Central Asian “chapter” of the Islamic State, along with “Khilafat Afghan (former Afghan Taliban), the Tehreek-e-Khilafat Pakistan (former TTP), Tehreek-e-Khilafat Khorasan (former TTP), the Omar Ghazi group, the Muslimdost group, the Azizullah Haqqani group (former Afghan Taliban), the Shamali Khilafat, the Jaish-ul-Islam, the Harakat Khilafat Baluch, the Mullah Bakhtwar group (former TTP), the Jaish-ul-Islam and the China-oriented Gansu Hui group created by WK members themselves.” Together they are thought to number some 1,000-3,000 fighters.