ISIS in Afghanistan- The battle gets bloodier

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Kabul, Feb 9: The ISIS recently announced its organizational structure in Afghanistan and named its outfit for the region as the Al-Khorasan. If this announcement were to be described in just one sentence it would mean, " more trouble in the region."

Looking closely at the developments post Al-Khorasan, one gets the general impression that battle in Afghanistan is going to get bloodier and with Pakistan jumping into the fray to protect its so called Good Taliban and the Al-Qaeda, it can only get worse.

ISIS

What does India go in such an event? The stability of Afghanistan is crucial for India and hence it needs to do more than just sit and observe.

The immediate effects of the Al-Khorasan:

The Al-Khorasan was announced a couple of days back with Hafiz Saeed Khan a former member of the Tehrik-e-Taliban as its chief. It is clear that the ISIS wants a say in Afghanistan and this would mean that they would be involved in a direct battle with the Al-Qaeda and the Mullah Omar led Taliban or the Afghan Taliban or as the Pakistanis and the US would say the Good Taliban.

The Taliban which has been waging a battle in Afghanistan for several years now has been extremely skeptical when it comes to accepting foreign groups on their land. One may recall the several meetings that Osama Bin Laden had to have with Mullah Omar before he even could convince him to allow the Al-Qaeda to fight in Afghanistan.

Laden was several times seated on the floor requesting Mullah Omar during meetings and it took several years before the Al-Qaeda was accepted. Now with the ISIS making its foot hold into Afghansitan, it is unlikely that they will fight alongside the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
For starters the ISI does not approve of the ISIS. The ISIS on the other hand has a leaning towards the Tehrik-e-Taliban which according to the ISI is the bad Taliban. Hence the battle lines are clear and it would be the ISIS vs the rest.

Who is the ISIS or Khorasan banking on?

While for the world only the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda are visible in Afghanistan, the fact remains that there are several other splinter groups which can make a difference in the region.

The Taliban and the Al-Qaeda have several break away factions and none have been able to ensure any sort of unity among these groups. The Tehrik-e-Taliban too is a split force today and these would lean towards the ISIS.

The ISIS chapter in Afghanistan would appoint all disgruntled commanders of these terror groups from Pakistan and Afghanistan. The several break away factions who had openly declared their support to ISIS boss, Abu Bakr Al-Bhagdadi would come together under the umbrella of the Khorasan.

Why stability would be further disturbed:

The Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are not going to lie low and watch the ISIS uniting all the break away factions. This would see the coming together of the Taliban, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and the Al-Qaeda which would launch an attack on the ISIS.

It is yet to be seen how the Tehrik-e-Taliban would react. They are not with the Al-Qaeda and neither with the ISIS.

This kind of fighting would only ensure that the situation worsens in the region and the spill out of the same could be seen both in India and Pakistan.

What is the Al-Qaeda doing:

The Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan appears to be changing strategy. They realize the battle in Afghanistan cannot be won with a global approach. Being fully aware that the ISIS is relying on the local groups, the Al-Qaeda too has been inviting the local outfits into their fold.

The local outfits are the ones with proper knowledge of the terrain. However, the one factor that would over ride all power struggle would be the caliphate or the Islamic state.

The ISIS announcing the Islamic state and the thorough implementation of the Sharia law has been a major draw for several local groups. The Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have been viewed as stooges of the ISI which have not fulfilled their promises and hence the ISIS is expected to have an edge over these groups.

What does India do?

In the Indian context, the biggest problem would be a spill over. The concerns about the conflict in Afghanistan spilling over into India especially Kashmir would be worrisome.

The other factor would be the recruitments and we have already seen several radicals taking a liking for the ISIS. The kind of Jihad marketing that the ISIS has done has attracted many.

Hence the challenge before India would be to ensure that there is no spill over into Kashmir and also take stock of the situation and not allow any of these groups recruit youth from India.

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