Taliban vs. ISIS in Afghanistan – Should We Pick a Side?
The Taliban group is growing nervous as ISIS loyalists attempt to seize control of areas in Afghanistan, and are well aware of the consequences such actions could have on the country.
Numerous ISIS flags have been spotted in restive areas of the Badakhshan province, leading Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid to issue a warning statement. Officials report that hundreds of militants in Khostak (Wardoj district) have seized control of the area in the name of ISIS. Mujahid confirmed that this renegade group would not be allowed to establish a foothold in Afghanistan.
Violence between the two groups is not uncommon. Both the Islamic State and the Taliban declared Jihad against one another in Afghanistan last year, with a noted ISIS leader slamming the Taliban’s Mullah Mohammad Omar as “a fool and illiterate warlord.”
Taliban leaders have ordered their men not to allow Daesh flags to be raised in Afghanistan.
As of May, there were roughly 10,000 US forces in Afghanistan, most of them involved in counterterrorism and “train, advise, and assist” missions. By the end of the year, we expect there will only be about 5,500. The big question now is whether we support the Taliban (because they hate ISIS) or let the two kill each other off.
Both American and Afghan Special Forces were heavily involved in the fight when the Taliban captured the city of Kunduz last fall. Now, American forces are busy guiding Afghan forces in the Helmand province (the Taliban’s heartland), with the goal to retrain and reform the army 215 Corps.
“They [US officials] have fired all the commanders and all the leaders there,” explains American broadcast journalist Jennifer Glasse. “They are trying to get the Afghans to be a little bit more aggressive, to get off checkpoints and to engage the Taliban more effectively.
Editor’s note: Not sure how to take this. The cynical solution would be to feed weapons to both sides and maintain a balance until the radicals kill each other and only less aggressives are left.