Only two months since taking control of Afghanistan, the Taliban is struggling to fight an ISIS-K insurrection.
ISIS-K is responsible for a number of suicide bombings and assaults on Taliban convoys since the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Hundreds have already been killed, with analysts warning that the violence will continue as ISIS-K tests the Taliban’s control of the country.
Some Taliban fighters believing the new government has not done enough to restrict the rights of women and engaged in too many diplomatic talks with countries like the U.S. have switched allegiance to ISIS-K.
“The American war is over, but the Afghan wars are not,” Avinash Paliwal, deputy director of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) South Asia Institute and author of “My Enemy’s Enemy,” a book about Afghanistan said.
While the Taliban’s goal has been to establish an Islamic government in Afghanistan, ISIS-K seeks an Islamic caliphate across Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as parts of India and Iran. One analyst said that ISIS-K militants see the Taliban as “filthy nationalists” who have gone against a greater cause.
“ISIS-K sees the Taliban as just another kind of political outfit — cutting a deal with the Americans — that is ideologically not pure,” Paliwal said. “Their aim is to destabilize an already struggling regime.”
ISIS-K has claimed responsibility for the Aug. 26 Kabul airport suicide bombing that killed 13 American service members and at least 170 Afghans. Bombers also attacked two mosques attended by Afghanistan’s Shia minority during Friday prayers, killing more than 100 people.
“These attacks are bringing down the credibility of the Taliban government,” Nasratullah Haqpal, a Kabul-based political analyst said. “They have been claiming for years that ‘we are the only group that can secure and brings stability to Afghanistan’. But Daesh and their supporters are challenging this claim.”