ISIS getting stronger in Afghanistan?
ISIS or Daesh is a jihadist militant group which originated in Iraq in 1999. In 2013, they started to capture several cities in Iraq and Syria until it managed to capture Mosul in June 2014, and then established itself as a caliphate. The terrorist organization controlled huge swathes of land in both Iraq and Syria, and also started to use its own currency while imposing Sharia law. In September 2015, Russia on the request of the Syrian government started conducting airstrikes from Khmeimim airbase while United States army and the alliance were also conducting air strikes in Iraq. This marked a change in ISIS’s luck when it started to lose territory very fast. On 21st November 2017, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, declared victory over ISIS in Syria. US officials reported that 98% of the territory once claimed by ISIS has been recaptured.
There have been reports that ISIS troops are now moving to Afghanistan mostly in Nangarhar’s Province, where the US military dropped the ‘mother of all bombs in April 2017. Recently, ISIS claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a Shia cultural centre in Kabul. There also have been reports of clashes between ISIS and the local terrorist group, the Taliban, which controls huge swathes of land. The instability in Afghanistan, and its inability to get rid of the local terrorist groups might have made it an attractive place for ISIS to form their new home. The United States army have started the withdrawal of some of its forces in Iraq and planned to start moving more soldiers to Afghanistan. At the moment around 14,000 US troops are stationed in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the US is more committed to eliminate the Taliban, which it has been fighting since 2001. According to Zamir Kabulov, head of the Middle East department in the Russian foreign ministry, many ISIS fighters have managed to move from Iraq and Syria to Afghanistan, where there may be around 10,000 fighters. If this is true, could ISIS try to take over and control huge swathes of land in Afghanistan? Hopefully they cannot.