ISKP building alliances with hostile agencies to prolong stay in Afghanistan

Taliban would have to handle ISKP with the coordination of other states as spoilers could destabilize the region

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ISLAMABAD: Following the takeover of Afghanistan by Taliban, the peace spoilers including Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP) have been struggling for their survival in the country thus building unholy alliances to achieve their wicked designs.

The hostile intelligence agencies had created ISKP against Taliban regime as they wanted to prolong stay of extra regional forces in Afghanistan.

Considering the ISKP’s attack in various parts of Afghanistan as an attempt to create mistrust about Taliban, the analysts called for Taliban government and all regional states to start an effective campaign to undercut ISKP’s presence in the region.

Though the US allied forces had been pulled out from Afghanistan but ISKP still exist the war-torn country carrying out terrorist activities against Taliban.

The analysts believed that the Taliban would have to handle ISKP with the coordination of other states as the spoilers could destabilize the region.

In fact, the ISKP considers Taliban as an irreconcilable enemy which necessitated to be defeated militarily.

The group has been under pressure following the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, so it had built alliance with hostile intelligence agencies like RAW to get anti-Taliban support.

As the spoilers of peace are destabilizing the region for their vested interest, Taliban are expected to eliminate the emerging threat of ISKP along with HIAs in Afghanistan.

The analysts also called for the engagement between the international and regional states with Taliban for their counterterrorism campaign against ISKP in order to achieve a durable peace.

Since the return of US troops from Afghanistan, Pakistan had been providing humanitarian assistance to Taliban but instead of recognition, the peace spoilers are negatively projecting these humanitarian gestures.

Earlier to this, the Taliban claims security “has been assured” in Afghanistan since it took over, and that the country has been saved from the “quagmire of war”. But a series of attacks carried out by an affiliate of the ISIL (ISIS) group in recent weeks has shattered those claims.

In the six weeks since the Taliban came to power, there have been reports of Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K), attacks and activity in the cities of Kabul, Jalalabad and Mazar-i-Sharif.

On the evening of August 26, just 11 days after the Taliban takeover, ISKP claimed responsibility for a bombing at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport that killed more than 180 people and injured hundreds of others.

Several attacks have been reported in the city of Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, and one of ISKP’s most common targets. The recent attacks, including IED explosions, killed civilians and purported Taliban fighters.

In a Telegram message, ISKP claimed to have killed up to 35 Taliban fighters in Jalalabad – the Taliban has denied that tally.

Each of these instances has been met with harsh words from the Taliban, who continue to pledge to eradicate any forces loyal to ISIL.

Deputy Minister of Information and Culture Zabihullah Mujahid told that, the Taliban is actively “hunting down those who are sowing chaos” in the country.

While the Taliban has taken districts from ISKP in the past, eliminating this longtime foe is proving more difficult than the group will let on.

The Taliban launched a crackdown on ISKP members, reportedly detaining at least 80 purported fighters in Nangarhar – an ISKP stronghold.

The group also claimed to have killed Ziya ul-Haq – also known as Abu Omar Khorasani – the former leader of ISKP, in Kabul’s notorious Pul-e-Charkhi prison.

It has also been accused of killing Farooq Bengalzai, an ISIL leader from Pakistan who was reportedly killed while travelling in southwestern Afghanistan.

On August 28, the Taliban was accused of arresting Abu Obaidullah Mutawakil, a well-known Salafi scholar, in the capital Kabul. A week later, Mutawakil was found dead.

The Taliban denied any part in Mutawakil’s death, but that did little to ease suspicions. Furthering those doubts is the fact that within weeks of Mutawakil’s killing, the Taliban had also closed more than three dozen Salafist mosques across 16 different provinces.

There are fears the Taliban is borrowing from the playbook of former Afghan governments, who were accused of unlawful detentions, extrajudicial killings and of using labels like “Taliban”, “ISKP” and “al-Qaeda” to go after any unwanted elements without providing evidence.

Wesley Morgan, an author and journalist who has reported extensively on the US war in Afghanistan, says there is a fear that the Taliban “could label various groups as Daesh (ISIL) that aren’t, just like the US and Kabul, before them, did for decades.”

Though much of ISKP’s activity has been in Nangarhar, neighbouring Kunar has proven to be an especially valuable province for ISKP recruitment.

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