The profile of the ISK in Afghanistan has been continuously undermined by the United States counter terrorism mission which had employed air strikes in support of the former Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) to effect and the count of the activists of that group had been considerably marginalised.
The dominating presence of the Daesh-K forces in both Kunar and Nangarhar provinces was whittled down in which the Taliban also played an important role.
While there are concerns that the Taliban may not make good promises on control of other terrorist groups in Afghanistan, preliminary moves with respect to the Daesh K denote that they are not likely to give much leeway to the latter while may continue to protect the al Qaeda and other affiliates with which they have a strong bond of legacy.
One factor is lack of ideological symmetry between the ISIS or Daesh including the Afghan branch of the global terrorist outfit the Daesh K or ISK [Islamic State of the Khorasan].
As evidence of the above, Taliban’s approach towards the Daesh K was evident with elimination of Abu Omar Khorasani, the Daesh-K leader, who thought that he would be released by the Taliban from prison given cooperation against the US and Afghan allies.
However he was ruthlessly eliminated, one reason may be the disapproval of the August 26 attack at the Kabul international airport which had considerably sullied reputation of the Taliban even though the airport was under the control of the US Marines.
The Daesh in turn has wisened up to the Taliban strategy of ruthless elimination of their leaders and cadres launching a series of bomb attacks on the week end.
The ISK mouth piece Amaq has claimed three blasts on Saturday, September 18 and one on Sunday September 19 in the Jalalabad capital of eastern Nangarhar province. The explosions targeted the Taliban and inflicted casualties over 25 with reports that several Taliban fighters were rushed to hospital after being wounded in explosions. On September 19 there was also a blast in Kabul which claimed two lives.
This has led analysts to believe that the Daesh K will counter the Taliban actively. Ibrahim Baes, a political analyst, told TOLOnews: “They wanted to show they are actively present in Afghanistan. They have decided to fight against the current government in Afghanistan.”
The Taliban however believes that the Daesh is not a threat as there is no support amongst the people. Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Zabihullah Mujahid mentioned so.
Speaking to TOLOnews, Mujahid said two groups have been arrested in relation to the last incidents in Nangarhar province. “Daesh is not a threat, because the thought of Daesh is a hated thought among the people. No one supports them. Second, our combat against Daesh was effective in the past and we know how to neutralize their techniques," Mujahid said.
While the Taliban may be correct in assessing that the Daesh does not have support of the people, for waging a terror campaign support of only a small group is essential. The Taliban too do not have widespread support amongst Afghans but coercion has led to widespread control at the subterranean level.
There is thus a need for the Taliban to carry out a reappraisal of the security set up and start organization structures to combat the threat from diverse groups as the ISIS K and also ensure that commitment to contain international groups as the al Qaeda is turned into action.
The Daesh K is expected to exploit the window of security vacuum in the country to expand presence and pose a credible threat of terror, mere elimination of captured leaders may not alone work for the Taliban. Thus a long drawn out campaign of violence can be anticipated in Afghanistan amidst other portends of instability.