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Ex-Afghan intelligence officials joining ISIS; advantage ISI, more headache for India

Intelligence and security personnel of the previous Afghanistan dispensation are finding the terrorist organisation as their new citadel to reorganise and reorient against the ruling Taliban in the country. 

Former Afghan intelligence officials joining ISIS advantage ISI more headache for India
Kabul, First Published Nov 1, 2021, 6:50 PM IST

Left with no options since the collapse of the democratically-elected government in Afghanistan, reports suggest that the American-trained Afghan intelligence personnel have joined the ISIS-Khorasan to fight and resist the Taliban in the war-torn country. 

According to reports, the intelligence and security personnel of the previous dispensation are finding the terrorist organisation as their new citadel to reorganise and reorient against the ruling Taliban in the country. 

As per a foreign publication, the number of defectors joining the ISIS-K is relatively small but it is growing. With their joining, the terrorist organisation is getting critical expertise in intelligence-gathering and warfare techniques. This would help ISIS-K in carrying out a fight against Taliban supremacy. 

The development does not come as a surprise for security experts in India, as they believe that it was always expected to happen as most of these members are most of them are anti-Taliban. 

Talking to Asianet Newsable, security expert Qamar Agha said, "Certainly, most members of the Afghan Army are anti-Taliban, they are committed anti-Taliban. They can go to any extent or any group to defeat the Taliban. Since the alternative is not available some of them might have joined ISIS-K. They will not accept the Taliban regime. A large number of Afghan forces have been fighting the Taliban for many years. Basically, they are opposed to the Taliban and they will not accept them. I am not surprised by their joining."

About a week ago, a former Afghan National Army officer was killed in a clash with Taliban fighters. He had joined the ISIS-K after the fall of the Ashraf Ghani government in August this year. As per the publication, ISIS has become very attractive in some areas for former members of the Afghan security and defence forces who have been left behind. 

Rahmatullah Nabil, a former head of Afghanistan’s spy agency, the National Directorate of Security, who left the country shortly before the Taliban takeover said that had there been a resistance, these personnel would have joined them. But for now, ISIS was the only other armed group.

On being asked about its impact on India, Agha said, "The problem is from both sides -- Taliban as well as ISIS-K -- is that they are both opposed to India. These two groups have very close ties with LeT, JeM, and other terrorist groups within Afghanistan. Taliban and ISIS-K both have deep links with ISI and Pakistan military establishments."

He further said that Pakistan has deliberately created ISIS to counter the Taliban to build pressure on them in case they go out of control. "Pakistan's plan is to support the Taliban, ISIS-K and other terrorist groups. They are using ISIS-K against the countries in Central Asia, Iran and others to build pressure on them," the security expert said.

The Taliban and ISIS both are in favour of the imposition of strict Islamic order in the country but the two have very sharp religious, ideological and political differences. Amongst them, the Taliban is considered as liberal than ISIS.

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