Ansar al-Islam was an Islamist terrorist organization which made its first appearance in Iraqi Kurdistan in December 2001. The group was made up of a combination of Kurdish recruits and Arab veterans of the war in Afghanistan. The group also had non-Kurdish/Arabic members. From 2001 to 2003, they fought against Kurdish forces in northern Iraq, carving out an enclave around the town of Halabja which they placed under their control. The CIA also suspected Ansar al-Islam of manufacturing chemical weapons and the poison Ricin in a factory in the town of Sargat.