Afghanistan; ISIL’s next capital!

  • Date of Publication : 30/11/2017 at 10:59 GMT
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The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS, has been military defeated in Syria and Iraq, having almost no strategic and assertive area under its control in these countries. But ISIL’s expulsion from Syria and Iraq can be as alarming for the people of Afghanistan as much as it can be pleasing for the peoples of the two countries. However, the extremist group’s capitals and main bases are situated in Arab states in the region, particularly in Syria and Ira, but it can be a potential and actual threat to Afghanistan and other neighboring countries, considering the type of mission this terrorist group is trying to lead to success.

Iran may have realized the danger of ISIL better than any other country as it has already taken necessary measures to prevent the group’s influence in its territory. Russia should be now expecting terrorist movements near its borders as it has managed to oust ISIL from Syria with the help of Iran. Of course, Afghanistan is experiencing the most fragile and unstable situation in the region due to its uncontrollable circumstances.

Contrary to expectations of some Afghan politicians who were asserting that the ISIL militants could never penetrate inside Afghanistan, the group during the three years of its presence in the country have proven that it is capable enough to easily penetrate the country and even carry out devastating attacks there. Some Afghan political elites, including the country’s current and former presidents were supporting the thesis that Afghanistan is not a suitable environment for ISIL terror group to penetrate or expand its influence, but now it’s these leaders that are expressing deep concerns over the increasing activities of the active radical groups in the country, including the ISIL.

Does the defeat of ISIL in Syria and Iraq mean they will gain more grounds in Afghanistan? Will ISIL fighters turn Afghanistan into a “second Syria” in the near future? These days such questions are increasingly being raised in Afghanistan. Many in Afghanistan fear that the waves of ISIL fighters who are currently being overthrown from their main sanctuaries, will reach the war-waged Afghanistan which is already facing serious security challenges. However, Afghanistan has been at the center of ISIL’s attention since the group’s emergence in Syria and Iraq. The group’s presence was tangible in some parts of the country from the very beginning of its years of establishment. And It (Afghanistan) due to its geographical location- which is sharing borders with countries that are considered as next targets of the group and because it’s facing turmoil, was chosen by the group. However, Pakistan was the only country that welcomed the group’s presence in its territory just in order to further penetrate into the Afghan territory. In addition, the ISIL affiliated groups currently operating in some border areas inside Afghanistan, are entering the country through Pakistan and as soon as they encounter the Taliban militants in these regions, they return to areas across the Afghan border and seek shelters there.
The Islamic State militant group is not considered only as a potential threat to Afghanistan. The group’s movements in eastern provinces of the country, which in some cases were met with serious reactions of Afghan and U.S high-ranking officials, is alarming about the expansion of the group’s influence in other parts of the country. However, the insurgent group has already launched massive terrorist attacks in the capital, Kabul. The group has also conducted several bloody attacks against Shia mosques in different provinces of Afghanistan in a likely effort to instigate a religious or ethnic war in the country. If the group’s armed forces migrate in larger sizes and more coherently to Afghanistan, the ongoing war in the country will undoubtedly be directed toward a path where it would be extremely difficult to put an end to it.

The ISIL threat must be taken seriously. Necessary measures are also needed to be taken to prevent the further expansion of its influence in the country. Unfortunately, the government is still trying to convince the Taliban opposition group to engage in peace talks and is yet to realize how serious the ISIL threat is. The lack of government attention to this issue can have devastating consequences for Afghanistan. The country is already suffering a great deal from insecurity, and will unlikely be able to prevent the further expansion of the group if ISIL fighters intensify their insurgent activities.

In addition, the possibility of links between the group and some certain circles within the government is a matter of great concern which is occasionally raised in the country. A number of Afghan parliamentarians, including the first deputy speaker of the Afghan House of Representatives are claiming that the ISIL is being supported by powerful and influential individuals within the system. Since the very first years of the group’s presence in Afghanistan, there were such accusations that the militant group is enjoying government support, but the issue of ISIL’s government support has once again become a hot topic these days. The deputy speaker even claims he has documents that can reveal such relationship between the terror group and circles within the government, but the government is silent on this issue. Is the government’s silence a confirmation to the allegations or are there some other issues that are impeding the government from reacting to this matter? Anyways, the ISIL is now posing serious threats to Afghanistan. Therefore, it should take concrete steps to reduce the power and influence of the group in the country, if not, no one knows what will happen in the country. Will it then turn into a “second Syria?”

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