How many fighters does a terrorist outfit need to wage a successful battle in Afghanistan. The answer is 31,000. The ISIS and the Taliban which have run successful campaigns in Syria and Afghanistan respectively have at any given time had at least 31,000 members or more.
31,000 is not a small figure and this raises another pertinent question and that is can the al-Qaeda in the sub-continent manage to dish out these numbers. The answer is no.
Why can't the AQIS get the numbers?
It would be safe to say that the Indian Muslims have ditched the al-Qaeda in the Sub Continent big time. They had a lot of expectation that there would be a major influx out of India into Afghanistan.
However the Indian Government has been extremely successfully in stemming the flow of Indian Muslims into joining the ranks of the AQIS or the ISIS. Barring a handful of members, none have shown any interest in joining these international terrorist groups.
Was AQIS meant to target Indians?
When the AQIS was launched last year, many believed that this would pose a major security threat to India. However that was never the real intent of the AQIS. They were more focused on holding ground in Afghanistan and wading away the threat from the ISIS and the Tehrik-e-Taliban.
This meant that they wanted a good number of recruits from both Pakistan and Afghanistan and had hoped that they would get at least 31,000 members. However that was not to be and many in the Af-Pk region were seen leaning more towards the Tehrik-e-Taliban and the ISIS.
Get out of Afghanistan
It could be safe to conclude that the AQIS is a non-starter. Its chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri is no longer in Afghanistan and this itself is an indicator of how much of a lull there is in the outfit.
Moreover the 3000 odd members that it had managed to dish out with great difficulty have either gone back home or joined the war in Yemen. Security experts say that these are difficult days for the al-Qaeda and they realize that their last hopes lie in Yemen.
Their partner in Afghanistan the so called Good Taliban is also finding the going extremely tough. With Mullah Omar not being the Mullah Omar he used to be, the Taliban too is in disarray.
The danger ahead
However it would be premature to rejoice that the al-Qaeda and the ISIS are out of favour in Afghanistan. Their downfall has paved the way for more lethal groups such as the several splinter factions in the Taliban, the ISIS and the Tehrik-e-Taliban which have spun out of control.
In the Indian scenario if one has to look at these groups, then it would be best to look towards Bangladesh. A group such as the Jamaat would pose a bigger threat to India. There is a wave generating in Bangladesh where the hardliners are looking to throw out the moderates and this if successful could have adverse affects on India, Intelligence Bureau officials would say.