22 May 2015
Islamic State’s (IS) growing influence in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region coupled with the pressure on the Afghan Taliban to reconcile with Kabul has put the Taliban leadership in a quandary. A political compromise with the government can divide the jihadist group, which will benefit IS in the region.
With the emergence of the self-styled Islamic State’s (IS) local affiliate, the Khurasan Shura in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the jihadist landscape in the two countries has become a highly contested domain. At present, the Af-Pak militant landscape is undergoing operational and ideological transformation as different militant outfits make strategic and tactical positional adjustments to these shifting-sands. Although operationally and tactically, it is Al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban-led, ideologically and strategically, it is an IS-inspired landscape.
IS’ military victories in Iraq and Syria, the near-global appeal of its self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate and its monopoly over the contemporary jihadist terrorist iconography resonate with the jihadist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban, who have been at the vanguard of Jihadism in the Af-Pak region, are in an unprecedented tug of war with IS. The pro-IS allegiances and defections are at the heart of this evolving competition. The trend seems to be growing as more and more jihadists, particular from among the younger generation, have demonstrated pro-IS inclinations.
… Abdul Basit is an Associate Research Fellow at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 18/11/2015