Why Islamic State could spoil the Chinese party in Afghanistan
New Delhi, Oct 23: The Islamic State has been looking to make Afghanistan its stronghold. It even launched the Islamic State Khorasan Province and has so far shown that it can be very lethal.
While it has carried out a series of attacks in the past years, since the Taliban took over it carried out three strikes which are deadly in nature. This month alone saw two high profile attacks against the Shiite Muslims who had gathered for Friday prayers in the cities of Kunduz and Kandahar. Prior to this the ISKP had carried out a lethal suicide attack at the Kabul airport just days after the US withdrew in August.
The ISIS since its inception has exploited divisions in the regions. It has recruited disgruntled elements from the Taliban and the Tehrik-e-Taliban as well. While the outfit does pose a big threat, a worry lies ahead for China, which is looking to expand its footprint in the Afghan region.
The ISKP is likely to take advantage of the situation where the Uyghur Muslims are concerned. It would look to recruit more and more Uyghurs and this would pose a threat to China.
The ISIS would also take advantage of the fact that the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) has been removed from the Terrorist Exclusion List by the US. The US justified the decision by stating that the ETIM does not exist any longer.
Further the ISKP would also look to the Uyghur group called the Turkestan Islamic Party which is active in Syria and Afghanistan.
While these groups have tilted more towards the Al-Qaeda in the past, their loyalties are fast moving towards the Islamic State. If this scenario were to occur, the group would pose a major threat to Chinese interests as well as the Taliban.
Among the several nations, China has been the most supportive of the Taliban. It is a well known fact that the ISKP and Taliban are at logger heads. The Taliban has openly urged China to invest in Afghanistan and if this were to take place, then the ISKP would look to hit along with the Uyghur Muslims who have posed trouble to China.
Further there is plenty of turmoil within the Taliban. It is never clear whether the Taliban would continue to fight as a united front considering their differences with the Haqqani Network. All these events would provide the perfect fodder for the ISKP which has been known to make use of the differences in a region and carry out attacks.
Considering that the Taliban is not a united front, it would find it hard to control both the ISKP and ETIM which will pose a large risk to China.