Khorasan – Examining a jihadist myth

The “Islamic State” (IS) referred to “Khorasan” in a video following an attack on a train in the German city of Würzberg carried out by a young Afghan refugee who had pledged allegiance to the militant group. It wasn’t the first time that jihadist groups have mentioned the little-known term.

When they do, they are not speaking of the present-day Iranian Khorasan, which was the largest province of the Shiite country until it was divided into three in 2004. For groups like IS and the Taliban, Khorasan represents a “golden” era of Islam, an empire, a historic region covering some Central Asia states, and parts of Iran and Afghanistan, where these groups want to establish a caliphate.