DAISH in Afghanistan
Waqar Ahmed


The Islamic State or Daesh has emerged as a serious threat to several regions of the world besides the Middle Eastern countries where it was born and remains entrenched. The recent spectacular but deadly attacks in Brussels and Paris show the lethality and ruthlessness of the organization that seeks to reach beyond the erstwhile borders of Iraq and Syria.

According to some analysts and security experts at leading think-tanks of the world, the beginning of the end for IS has already begun. These experts point to the major role of Russia in tackling the extremist group followed by the US, the Kurds and the Iraqi army among others. US Vice-President Joe Biden is among those who assert that there has been “serious” progress in wresting back territory from the group and weakening its leadership that thrives in brutal practices unheard of in recent times. Then there is US Secretary of State John Kerry who is convinced that the Daesh days of spreading terror are numbered.

Experts in terrorism and Middle East situation believe that the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria influenced by the Daesh propaganda is going down as air strikes shatter the morale of the group’s fighters. US Air Force Major General Peter Gersten, deputy commander of operations for the US-led campaign against the IS, believes that only 200 or so foreign fighters are now joining the IS each month, which is one-tenth of the figure the organization had achieved some time ago. The Pentagon is not that optimistic as it revised the figures to 500 per month. Nevertheless, it is a significant drop in foreign recruits not familiar with what comes with the Daesh Jihadi package.

At the same time, fears are mounting that both Libya and Afghanistan could be the next ‘rear headquarters’ of the organization as it tries to cope with the incessant air attacks by the Russians, Americans and attacks by the Iraqi ground troops.

Regional experts say that the vast mountainous and difficult terrain of Afghanistan, abundant supply of Jihadi fighters, some of whom are attracted more to money than ideology, foreign covert support by the Indian intelligence that seeks to target Pakistan through Daesh and support among the top echelons of the Afghan government are some of the factors that could help the organization to mushroom in Afghanistan despite the targeting of its leaders by the US through drones. Then there is massive corruption in the Afghan government ranks, disorganized armed forces and a mostly non-functional government enveloped by rivalries and vast array of ethnic divisions.

There are reports that Daesh has penetrated even among the high ranking Afghan government officials. Notably, one Daesh supporter recently arrested by the Afghan agencies was Engineer Mohammad Khan, the first adviser and a close friend of Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. Also, among the regional countries, a senior Tajik official has deserted to the Afghan Daesh chapter.

That is not all. The organization has released a video of one of its Indian fighters, a van-driver from Karnataka named Anwar Hussain, who died in Afghanistan in 2014 to serve as a recruitment tool for the Indian Jihadis. All of this serves as a reminder to the Pakistan government that it should keep a close watch on ominous developments taking place across the country's western borders.