Islamic State (IS) is increasingly making its presence felt in more countries, with its influence spreading beyond its stronghold in Iraq and Syria. It has managed to establish a network of affiliates and sympathisers across the globe, from Nigeria to Afghanistan. These groups are adopting the IS brand, pledging allegiance to the group’s leader, and adopting its brutal tactics.

IS’s strategy of franchising its brand is proving successful. The group provides guidance and financial support to its affiliates, but allows them to operate independently. This strategy has seen the IS brand spread across the globe, with groups in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and the Philippines all claiming allegiance to IS.

Despite this, the extent of IS’s control over its affiliates is unclear. Some groups may be using the IS name simply to boost their profile and attract recruits. The group’s core leadership in Iraq and Syria appears to have limited control over its affiliates. Furthermore, the group’s rapid expansion has brought it into conflict with other jihadist groups, such as al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

IS’s growing influence presents a significant challenge to global security. Its brutal tactics, including mass killings and beheadings, have shocked the world. The group’s ability to attract recruits from around the world, including from Western countries, is a particular concern. The international community is struggling to find an effective response to the group’s rapid expansion and brutal tactics.

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