Sunday, December 13, 2015

Islamic State in Afghanistan

The Islamic State has replaced the Taliban in Nangarhar province as the number threat to residents and the government security forces. The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) say that "Daesh" is better equipped and more motivated than the Taliban. The Achin district is especially at risk. The IS fighters are a combination of Pakistani nationals and other ethnic groups to include Uzbeks, Chechens, and Uighurs. There are also former Taliban members who have picked up the ISIS flag. It is estimated that this area has up to 1,600 Islamic State fighters. Read more in a news report by Josh Smith - "Afghans battle Islamic State to stalemate in east", Stars and Stripes, December 8, 2015.

ISIS in Baghlan Province. Local officials in Baghlan province are concerned over reports that Daesh militants are recruiting in the area. Some officials say that ISIS fighters are moving their families into the province to establish a foothold. Read "Daesh Deployment in Baghlan Triggers Alarm Among Residents", Tolo News, December 10, 2015.

Resiliency of ISIS in Afghanistan. One observer sees ISIS as a small problem that could get big quick. He advocates that "An immediate counter-strategy is needed to avoid inevitable high costs if the group is allowed to grow and develop. This requires a deeper understanding of the group's own dynamics; ISIS cannot be effectively countered unless it is understood properly". The writer, is a Danish diplomat serving as EU Special Representative / Head of EU Delegation to Afghanistan. He is a former Danish Ambassador to Afghanistan. Read "We Got ISIS Wrong in Syria. Let's Get it Right in Afghanistan", The Huffington Post Blog, December 10, 2015.

ISIS vs Taliban. Bilal Sarwary reporting from Lashkar Gah says that "ISIS is stealing fighters from the Taliban in Afghanistan", The Independent, December 8, 2015. The Islamic State is luring fighters away with money and a unified message in Helmand province. At the same time the state of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces is dire with reports saying that 40% of the Afghan National Police (ANP) is fictitious - with the salaries going to senior ANP officers.

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