ISIS in Afghanistan: Is the Taliban on its way out?

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The Taliban is falling in Afghanistan. They are facing stiff competition from the ISIS and the slaying of at least 6 Taliban veterans in the Jalalabad area of Afghanistan is an indication of what the ISIS plans on doing.

The ISIS has adopted a different strategy in Afghanistan. They have chosen to target the Taliban leaders instead of carrying out strikes against the Afghan government or other diplomatic installations in the country.

Is the Taliban on its way out?

Knowing your enemy

The ISIS is well aware that they face stuff competition from the Taliban alone in Afghanistan. The al-Qaeda, well the less said the better and the ISIS too knows how easily they can run them over. The al-Qaeda has been thrown out of contention both in Syria and Iraq at the hands of the ISIS.

The Taliban on the other hand could give some stiff competition to the ISIS. The Taliban is the local outfit and is well aware of the entire country as they have even ruled it. However the Taliban is not what it used to be ten years back and the ISIS is aware of it.

They have picked their enemies well and are eliminating commanders strategically. Targetting commanders is the best option for the ISIS since without a leader the forces would not move and could disintegrate very easily.

Instances of ISIS power in Afghanistan

Maulvi Abbas who was the commander of the Taliban in the Nangarhar province was abducted by the ISIS. The ISIS has also launched a major offensive in the South and East of Jalalabad. To make matters worse for the Taliban in the Jalalabad areas, the ISIS has completely taken over.

The most recent incident reported is the capturing of ten Taliban commanders. The ISIS operates with the support of local groups within Afghanistan. The Taliban has lost control over several splinter groups within the country. Most of these groups have pledged their support to the ISIS as they believe that this group is capable of waging a strong battle.

Taliban looks to Iran

The Taliban does realize that this is not a battle it can wage all by itself. It does have a considerable number of men on its side, but to fight a full battle it does need support from various factions that exist in Afghanistan.

The Taliban has now called for truce with the various warring factions within Afghanistan. It has sent a delegation to meet with the leaders of various factions in Afghanistan and is attempting to strike a deal with them.

Further the Taliban is also seeking the help of Iran to break the ISIS. Although Iran has a Shia majority, it would still look to help the Taliban as they now have a common enemy in the ISIS.

Mullah Omar is out?

All these developments suggest that the Taliban is leaderless. Mullah Omar appears to be just a leader in exile and it is unlikely that he has any control over the outfit. His name is being floated every now and then by the Taliban only with an intention of keeping the hopes of the Taliban fighters alive.

No one really knows where Mullah Omar is these days. There are contradictory reports that he could be either in Balochistan or in the heart of Pakistan. However these are all hearsay reports and there is absolutely no confirmation of the same.

The ISI on the other hand is trying to work out a pact with the Taliban. The ISI would not want the ISIS to gain control over Afghanistan at any cost. To ensure this some of the ISI's top guns must be burning the midnight oil to find a way to end the ISIS march into Afghanistan.

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