ISIS in Pakistan: Group gains toehold near Afghan border

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Islamabad, Oct 19: Pakistan is set to face another virulently violent and deadly threat as the Islamic State (ISIS) group has gained toehold near Afghanistan-Pakistan border to spread its influence among people living on the border areas.

The threat has come at the time when Pakistan's offensive against terrorism in its tribal borderlands started moving to its logical end.

ISIS gains toehold near AfPak border

According to Dawn, the group has virtually established its writ in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) as they found it a safe heavens and full of resources and manpower.

The White Mountains, also known as Spin Ghar in the area have become natural barrier to the spillover of the ISIS from Afghanistan's Nangarhar province to the adjacent areas of Fata.

According to reports, three districts in Nangarhar situated in the foothills of the White Mountain are under the grip of the ISIS.

The Taliban have been displaced from the area and Afghan government has no control over these areas. People who belong to Shinwari tribe have taken shelter in Jalalabad .

Read More: Is ISI trying to merge Taliban and the ISIS?

"ISIS had a complete hold at least in three districts, including Achin," Dawn online reported citing an Afghan journalist from Nangarhar as saying.

"Situation was the worst and that civilians were being tortured as the Taliban and Afghan government had vacated those areas," added the journalist.

According to an Afghan source, most of ISIS fighters belong to Orakzai Agency. They have restored abandoned infrastructure of the Afghan Mujahideen in Achin district, claimed source.

A report submitted by the Balochistan government in November 2014 had also confirmed a large-scale recruitment for the ISIS in Kurram, Orakzai and adjacent Hangu district.

Location of the place, where the ISIS has established its stronghold, is important.

Movement in the 16,500 feet high White Mountain may be difficult but not impossible.

Cross-border movement takes little effort in the area where White Mountain ends which links Paktia province in Afghanistan with Kurram Agency, a sensitive area in Pakistan. Pakistani forces have no or little presence in the area.

Kurram is home to heretic population, according to the IS dogma, which the group has applied in Iraq and Syria.
The IS elements are gaining ground in Afghanistan due to financial resources, but Islamabad and Kabul are busy in blame game.

Both the countries have yet to evolve a joint strategy to tackle the emerging threat in the shape of the ISIS in the region.

OneIndia News

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