Jan. 14, 2015

ISIL Recruiting Fighters in Southern Afghanistan

The Islamic State of Syria and the Levant has quietly infiltrated Afghanistan as American troops have departed. According to the Associated Press, the activity centers around Mullah Abdul Rauf, a former Taliban corps commander formerly detained by the U.S. and held at Guantanamo Bay. Instead of rejoining the Taliban after he was released, Rauf aligned himself with ISIL. Now, he’s recruiting fighters, flying the black flag of ISIL and skirmishing with the Taliban. The AP reports, “Analysts say most claims of allegiance to IS in Afghanistan have been motivated by opportunism and that a new jihadist outfit would find it difficult to establish a presence where there are already long-established militant groups with tribal links. The Taliban have confined their insurgency to Afghanistan, and do not espouse the pan-Islamic model of jihad embraced by the Islamic State.” The presence of ISIL in Afghanistan will most likely be contained or even sizzle out. Perhaps we’ll even see an ironic twist where the Taliban beats back ISIL because it encroached on its turf. But like Noah Rothman of Hot Air says, “The accelerated tempo of violent attacks by anti-Western forces in Afghanistan is, however, a source of continued consternation for Americans who fought for that country’s liberation.”

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