ISIS militants have stepped up their activities in Afghanistan. They regularly attack representatives of the Taliban movement that has taken power, recruit supporters on the border with Tajikistan, their ranks, according to some sources, are replenished by the military and intelligence officers who worked for the former pro-American government. Can ISIS seize power in the country and whether the Taliban will keep it – in the material “Gazeta.Ru.”
After the Taliban (an organization banned by the UN) came to power in Afghanistan, representatives of ISIS carried out a series of terrorist attacks and sabotage against the government – the last was an attack on a military hospital in Kabul. A group of militants entered the building of the medical facility and started shooting there. According to several Western media outlets, one of the commanders of the Taliban forces in Kabul, Hamdullah Mohlis, was killed in the attack. The Taliban themselves deny his death.
The terrorist attack in Kabul called into question the ability of the Taliban to control the situation in the country, said Mir-Ali Asgarov, an orientalist and researcher at the Center for Islamic World Studies.
“The terrorist attack undoubtedly damaged the image of the Taliban. The attack became an occasion to talk about how the Taliban and their government control the situation in the country. At the same time, I would not limit myself to this attack, but would consider it together with other events, other examples of ISIS activity in Afghanistan,” Mir-Ali Asgarov told Gazeta.Ru.
According to him, we are talking about terrorist attacks in the country’s Shiite mosques and periodic attacks on military and civilian objects. All this suggests that IS is now very active, sums up Askerov.
At the same time, the American newspaper Wall Street Journal reported that former military personnel and employees of the special services and police are joining the jihadists.
“The military and other security officials trained by the Americans go to serve in ISIS. They could join any armed resistance to the Taliban, but at the moment ISIS is the only alternative,” – Rahmatullah Nabil, the ex-head of the Afghan National Security Department, told the newspaper.
Earlier it became known that ISIS is actively recruiting new members in the northern and eastern regions of Afghanistan. The north of the country borders on Tajikistan, which is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
Military expert, political scientist Ivan Konovalov, who has repeatedly visited Afghanistan and Tajikistan, drew attention to the fact that none of the Afghan governments in its entire history was capable of ensuring security throughout the country.
“The Taliban are no exception in this sense. It was clear from the outset that they would also fail to take control of the entire state. The law of the Afghan war should be remembered – no one can win, no one has enough strength to suppress all opponents, but everyone has enough strength to defend against such an attempt,” the expert said.
In his opinion, in addition to the centrifugal tendencies of the activation of ISIS, the theater of military operations itself – mountainous, inaccessible terrain, where a small unit can conduct military operations against an entire division for several months – also contributes.
Another problem that aggravates the position of the Taliban is the internal disunity within the Taliban itself, says Andrei Kazants-ev, professor at the Higher School of Economics, chief researcher at the MGIMO Institute for International Studies.
“There are more moderate groups in the Taliban, with which Moscow maintains contact and builds contacts, but there are more radical groups already associated with Al-Qaeda. If the Taliban do not distance themselves, as they promised Moscow, they will not be able to balance the situation in the country from Jamaat Ansarullah and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan,” Andrei Kazantsev is convinced.
At the same time, exp-erts question the ability of ISIS to seize power not on-ly in the whole of Afg-hanistan, but even in a single province. “The provi-nce in the east of the country, Nangarhar, is considered perhaps the most disloyal to Kabul and the T-aliban, since its inhabitants share Salafi positions. They are closest to ISIS. Here jihadists replenish their ranks and can, to a certain extent, influence the population. But even here the sc-enario of capturing the en-tire province does not seem realistic,” Asgarov said.
“ISIS currently does not have sufficient support in Afghanistan for their actions to take on a larger scale. On the other hand, they have become a serious player. The Taliban have no strength to suppress them. As practice has shown, it is also pointless to negotiate with jihadists. They have too many fundamental religious and political contradictions. The situation is stalemate for all”, – adds Konovalov.
At the same time, according to Andrei Kazantsev, much will depend on how the country will survive this winter and what will happen in the spring, because Afghanistan is threatened by a “terrible famine”.
This, in particular, is warned by the staff of the UN World Food Program. “Afghanistan is now one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, if not the worst. This is heading towards disaster,” said program executive David Beasley.