IS-Khurasan Deploying Craft-Produced Anti-Materiel Rifles Against Taliban

by Miles

In what would certainly make the gun makers of Darra Adam Khel blush with professional embarrassment, a recent so-called Islamic State of Khurasan (IS entity in eastern Afghanistan) propaganda video showed fighters of the group engaging enemy Taliban fighters with a craft produced anti-materiel rifle. The rifle is extremely rudimentary, reminiscent of similarly constructed craft-produced rifles coming out of Iraq and Syria from workshops around the region.

An example of a craft-produced anti-materiel rifle from Iraq.

The rifle is a manually repeating single shot design in construction, most likely chambered in 12.7x108mm or larger (14.5x114mm, or 20mm due to the widespread existence of Soviet Bloc surplus in the region), using a crudely turned over bolt handle that drives a hand placed round into the chamber where it rests in the circular receiver. The handle appears to have a short throw distance and appears to use a single lug, visible directly behind it, engaging in a cutout notch at the 3 o’clock position. Although not much of a buttpad, there is a slab of steel that is able to be disassembled for construction and cleaning. There is no front sight and the rear sight is stripped from another design. Bipods are two pipes (most likely hollow), that can pivot on a pin positioned at the front of the receiver.

What we are looking at is a what appears to be industrial steel components designed to fit around what might be a rifled barrel that was stripped from a different design. This was the basic principle behind many of the anti-materiel rifles in Iraq and Syria, especially with the Kurds and the Zagros. Why create a costly part when one can be pulled from a non-working one that fits the bill? With this in mind, one barrel profile that does look similar and is relatively plentiful in the region is the 12.7x108mm NSV. The contour of the muzzle brake and the distance of the front sight post support this conjecture.

But upon a closer examination, it may look similar from afar, but there are far too many differences between the barrels to even be a close fit. The front sight post is too high to be from the NSV and the barrel itself appears to be missing some of the specific marks from attaching the gas system to it. Another important note here is that the barrel itself looks unfinished or at least not treated after construction. So it couldn’t have come from a manufactured barrel in the first place.

Image from ARES-

Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I've made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at

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  • Ryfyle Ryfyle on Jul 19, 2018

    The one with the Mag actually looks pretty decent. Just need a finish and some rails.

  • DR.NUMBERS DR.NUMBERS on Jul 19, 2018

    I have known about it for a while, but the idea of Isis fighting the Taliban still seems incongruous.

    • See 4 previous
    • Tom Choads Tom Choads on Jul 20, 2018

      @NukeItFromOrbit So.. why didn't we actually block off the border, go in, and target Osama? Why did we attack the Taliban instead of Al Qaeada?