12.02.2015 (23.11.1393)


What is IS (Daesh) doing in Afghanistan and why was Khadem targeted so early?

Writer and Analyst: Nazar Mohammad Mutmaeen


Since a month, the presence of Islamic State in Afghanistan is the headline of news. The ideas of analysts and scholars are different about the presence/non-presence of the ISIL group in Afghanistan. Does Daesh exist or not, to what extent it exist, is there the possibility of its presence, if it really exist what will be its advantage, disadvantage and result? What is the reaction of the Taliban against IS? These are the question that are not clearly answered yet, and there are not yet proofs provided for answering these questions? There are yet incidents hidden in darkness.

If the Taliban, who were once the rulers of Afghanistan and since last thirteen years they fight against the Afghan Government and Foreign Troops and have control over most of the territory of the country, fight against IS it will be not good for them. Even if they don’t fight against IS, they are in loss. Either they accept, or reject IS, they are in loss.

If there are mediators between Taliban and IS, they will find a short-term solution, but if there are not mediators between them, they will be faced with conflicts in the future.

The supporters of IS (in Afghanistan still known as Daesh) firstly arose from Waziristan of Pakistan, Abdul Qahir Khorasani and Muslim Dost also arose the name of Khorasan from the same Pakistan.

At the beginning, there were persuasion for the arousal of armed group of Daesh in Afghanistan, to the extent that so unknown circles and networks posted the slogans of Daesh on the walls of Kabul University.

The black flags of Hizb ut-Tahrir Party during the protest of the students of Kabul University were also being related to Daesh.

There were unknown reports from unknown sources published in media, according to some analysts, that time those reports were published for suppressing and demoralizing the Taliban.

There were many relevant reports in Ghazni province, and one of those reports was the one about the veiled gunmen of Daesh in Ajiristan District of Ghazni, for which ISAF was getting ready to bombard it, but later on, on October 12th 2014 the Chief Commander of ISAF Gen. Campbell said that there are not information available about the presence of Daesh in Afghanistan.

The statement reached the point that the Afghan Government formally declared the IS presence in Afghanistan.

After the signing of BSA, in last December 2014 Russia declared that it was afraid of the presence of IS in Afghanistan. The next day Afghan Government rejected the existence of IS in Afghanistan. Similarly the U.S. was also using precautious statements about IS in Afghanistan.

As there is an alliance being built among Russia, China, and North Korea, based on the issue of Ukraine there is a conflict arisen between the U.S. and Russia, both the U.S. and Russia published reports about the presence of IS in Afghanistan, the Afghan Government also reported about the existence of Daesh in some parts of the country.

Similarly in February of 2015 the former Secretary General of NATO Ander Fogh Rasmussen said that IS is a risk for the Middle East, however its presence in Afghanistan is beneficial.

The Chief of the U.S. led alliance against IS General John Allen said that very soon they will start military operations against IS.

IS in the Region; Was Khadem Really the Member of Daesh?

While the governor and deputy governor of Daesh for Khorasan Province were selected and announced by Daesh, the Afghan Government asked the media to stop any type of news and reports related to Daesh.

Firstly Abu Yazid Abdul Qahir Khorasani and Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost, who had Salafi ideology, declared their allegiance to the leader of IS Abu Baker Al Baghdadi Al Hussaini Al Qureshi, but IS did not show any reaction, and they did not accept them formally. But while the spokesperson of the Pakistani Taliban, also known as TTP, declared its allegiance and some people published a video of allegiance to IS, then IS stated Hafiz Said Khan as the governor and Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadem as the deputy governor of Khorasan Province.

Though Daesh formally declared Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadem as the Deputy Governor of Khorasan, Khadem did not respond to media and did not say anything about the acceptance of the position. According the source closed to Taliban, while he was declared as a deputy governor of Khorasan by Daesh, that time he and some of his fighters were in Farah Province in a Masjid, over which the flag of the Taliban was hang.

After the declaration of Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadem as the deputy governor of Khorasan, the Taliban attempted to send him a delegation, but yet it is not clear either the delegation met with him or not.

The spokesman of IS Abu Mohammad Al Adnani said that the necessity of their fight in Khorasan is to struggle against “Polytheism”, he said that the people of the region defeated the none Muslim and arrogant British, Russians, and recently the U.S. armies, now it is the time for the people of the region to fight against polytheism for monotheism.

Afghan Jihad and the issue of “Monotheism” and Polytheism”

Such declarations increase concerns and challenges, it means that IS will do jihad against those who are Muslim, but are not pro their Salafi monotheist ideology, such incidents were seen during jihad and migration comps and inside Afghanistan, and some Arab Salafi Mujahidin would call Afghan Mujahidin and migrants as polytheists, and they would call them that either become monotheist, or their killing was allowed. The most famous incident of such incidents was the one group of the Arab Mujahidin, they walked from Kunar to Ningarhar and said that they did not like taking into vehicle and using vehicle, they elected their Amir (leader), they were traveling by horses and camels, and they were asking the Mujahidin leaders to allegiance to their Amir. They were taken to Mr. Hekmatyar in Charasiab District of Kabul, and he convinced them that first of all they had to provide the conditions of Emirate and then Emirate should be declared and they will allegiance to Amir, and most importantly Emirate needs land and territory that should be controlled by Emirate. So the Arabs stayed with Hekmatyar, and it is reported that they fought against Ahmad Shah Masood.

IS and Plans of the Political Players

In Iraq there were three strong parties considered during and after the U.S. attack namely Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis, every party had its own territory and Iraq was divided into three major zones namely; the zone of Kurds, the zone of Shiites, and the zone of Sunnis.

The plan of the U.S. was that if any party fight in its own territory or they do anything by their own decision, the U.S. will not be considered about it, but if the people of one zone attack the other zone, the U.S. will prevent it.

While IS was located in its own Sunnis residing zone, the U.S. did not take any consideration about it, but while IS was implementing its plan of spreading its authority to Shiites residing zone, it faced an extreme reaction of the U.S.

The U.S. officials, especially John Kerry, were able to alien Kurds and Shiites together and use them against Daesh, while the empowerment of Kurds may be another concern in the region.

As currently John Kerry and Western Media say that IS was emerged by them, or some networks relate IS to Israel, it is just for weakness of IS. Most of analysts believe that IS is a spontaneous movement, which has started its war against the U.S. and the dictatorial regimes of Israel, and Arab countries.

The misstate of IS was that they claimed and declared Islamic State before its time, which concerned the U.S. and the West, and it risked the egocentric leaders of Muslim countries, therefore Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, joined with U.S. and West alliance against IS, and they are fighting against Islamic State.

A high-ranking official of the Taliban regime says that while they announced Islamic Emirate of the Afghanistan, the first ambassador who came to Kandahar was the ambassador of Saudi, and he asked for details. The Taliban official says that as they told him Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, and as the ambassador heard the word of Afghanistan, he said that all his questions were answered.

Yes, every Muslim group and Muslim movement has the dream of Islamic Caliphate, but after the conditions are set, they will declare it, the best examples are Ikhwanul Muslimin (Muslim Brotherhood) and Hizb Tahrir Party.

The IS leaders need to get experience from other Muslim movements, and they had to wait for reasonable period and then declare it.

As currently IS declare the governor for Khorasan Province, it is not reasonable at the moment, and it is increasing internal war between Muslims, which is the demand of the America, West and some other mercenary countries.

Some analysts believe that the America, Afghanistan and Pakistan are mutually working on the emergence of Daesh (Islamic State) in Afghanistan, and Pakistan is at the first step of all the three countries. Some analysts believe that the members of Pakistani Taliban who have declared their allegiance to IS, might be indirectly supported by ISI.

About Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadem it is said that he was appointed as the deputy governor because of his recognition with Arab Mujahidin in Guantanamo Prison.

IS has control over very specific territory in Iraq and Syria, and it faced extreme challenges in Iraq, while they should think about decrease of the problems, why the problems should be increased? Declaration of Afghanistan related Khorasan Province will be another challenge. Khorasan province which included the unsecure areas of Pakistan where the Pakistani Government itself has been facing many challenges. But the Khorasan Province of Islamic State clearly does not include Lahore and Punjab areas.

“Islamic State” and Priorities

Islamic State should think of its priorities, the most important part for them is Iraq to improve there, then it is Syria, and then Lebanon, currently Jordan clearly declared war against it, if they want to emerge Islamic Caliphate, the important countries for them are Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, and Egypt.

I am sure that Islamic State will face many challenges, and those challenges will be because of the emotional decision of its young leaders. IS had attracted many supporters in Arab World and Muslim World, and it still has those supporters, if IS does not improve its mistakes, they will lose their support.

It is because of the region that IS has facilities and budget, and by using those financial resources it will be able to attract youths in Pakistan and Afghanistan; because, in Afghanistan youths join Afghan Local Police for money, and in Pakistan there are tribal militias, who kill their brother, created for the same reason. If the financial resources of IS are pumped to Afghanistan, those who are joined with Afghan Local Police, they will prefer to IS, at the same time the attraction of the youth to Taliban will also decrease.

The main reasons of the improvement and war of IS in Iraq and Syria was its access to the heavy army ammunition of the U.S., and the enmity of their followers with Shiite, taking revenge from them, and calling them non-Muslims there. IS is not able to bring all those army ammunition and the inspiration that their followers will call Shiite as non-Muslims up to Afghanistan. Even, if they capture any of the U.S. base in Afghanistan, it does not have such heavy weaponry that they left in Iraq.

Afghans and “Islamic State”

Muslim nation of Afghanistan do not bow for any foreign forces, it was only for ACMET with whom Afghans did not fight and accepted the sacred religion of Islam. As currently Islamic State want to fight against polytheism, the issue of Salafi and Hanafi will empower, and as the most of the population of Afghanistan, especially in the southern provinces overall, are Hanafi Muslims, so it will be difficult for a group called Daesh to be accepted by these people.

Wish they would accept the will of Martyred Abdullah Ezaam, he would call Arab Mujahidin that while they go together with Afghan Mujahidin to fight with Russian troop, , and they had to pray same as Hanafi Muslims and other religious activities, because Afghans are Hanafi Muslims, and they are sensitive against Salafi Muslims, and they received less and wrong information about Salafi Muslims.

Another important point is that there are the Taliban control much more territory of the country compared to IS, Taliban have followers in 34 provinces of Afghanistan, and majority of the territory of some provinces is controlling by them. And the Taliban have the experience of governance, and the Al Qaida group is also yet in the allegiance of the head of the Taliban Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid. While IS is separated from Al Qaida, means Al Qaida separated Daesh from itself.

All the times the Taliban leaders act very late, if their negotiation was continues and the Taliban was sharing their experiences with IS, and the Taliban’s behavior with Salafi brothers was nice, maybe the challenge may not emerged so soon.

The presence of foreigner Muslim forces (called Mujahidin) with Taliban is a challenge for Taliban in the future. As they (Mujahidin) are currently controlled by the Afghan Taliban leaders, so by the emergence of IS, they will find ways for breaking the limitation over them. Similarly, the U.S. and Afghan Governments will indirectly support the Islamic Movements (Mujahidin) to use it as risk against China and Russia, so Russia will leave the issue of Ukraine and will pay attention toward Central Asia.

The difference between the Taliban and IS is that the Taliban tie themselves to the territory of Afghanistan, and IS does not accept boundary, therefore the Muslim foreign fighters will use the name of IS for removal of limitation over themselves.

“Islamic State” and Regional Games

The trip of the U.S. President Obama to India was an attempt that concerned China and Pakistan, currently Pakistan and China are mutually trying to stop the empowerment of India. Pakistan will do its best for insecurity of Afghanistan, so it will take tribute from the U.S.

Even if now the leaders of Islamic State know that it is all global intelligence that use them in war against the Taliban, they may change their policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Taliban will be also obliged to stop the way of any armed group by the name of Daesh, because during the Jihad with Russia, increase of the number of Jihadi groups and independency of every commander were the causes that still Afghanistan suffer from civil war. The foreigners use us, and we kill each other among ourselves. The ground forces of foreigners are our own Afghans and they get financial privileges from the U.S.

Afghan Government and the U.S. know that the armed group by the name of Daesh is not a concern for them, but they will try to use armed forces by the name of Daesh against the Taliban, and first of all they will merge the Afghan Local Police to the groups by the name of Daesh to be able to fight against the Taliban.

Why was Khadem targeted so early?

Why was Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadem targeted by the U.S. drones so early, and was killed, to the extent that the media also published its news, there are some reasons:

1- Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadam was not working as the regional intelligence wanted him to do, nor any intelligence played any role in his appointment by Daesh, but he was appointed as the deputy governor of Khorasan because of his personal recognition with Arabs in Guantanamo Prison.

2- Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadem faced many violence in Guantanamo Prison, which was done by Americans, so it was difficult for the regional intelligence to convince him to stop opposing the U.S.

3- He was a religious person, and he believed in Jihad, and by the advices of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the U.S. governments he would never leave Jihad against foreigners and Afghan government.

4- The most important that Mullah Abdul Rauf had stayed in the military council of the Taliban, and he had many friends in the armed structure of the Taliban, he would never accept to take gun against the Taliban, some resources that are close to the Talban also say that Mullah Abdul Rauf would never take gun against the Taliban.

5- By killing Mullah Abdul Rauf the U.S. and Afghan Government will get the trust of the Afghan nation that they do not attempt for the arise of IS in Afghanistan.

6- After the assassination of Mullah Abdul Rauf, if Daesh appoint another leader in Afghanistan, after his death youths will join Daesh in Afghanistan and will cause challenge for the Taliban in the future.

It is also questionable that before the appointment of Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadem, in Afghanistan and Pakistan many others declared their allegiance to Daesh, but why the Afghan Government and the U.S. targeted Mullah Abdul Rauf so early?

It would be better that the leaders of Islamic State does not use emotional and inappropriate decisions regarding Afghanistan, and they should think that the persuasion of their armed presence in Afghanistan means fight against Afghan Nation and the Taliban.

Overall, we can say that the armed presence of IS in Afghanistan is beneficial for Afghan government, Pakistan, and America. And it is disadvantageous for China, Iran, Russia, and the Taliban will face most of the challenges caused by Daesh.

There is the possibility that because of the same concern China, Russia and Iran will increase their support from the Taliban and may increase the empowerment of the Taliban.

Therefore, war in Afghanistan will not stop, the U.S., China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and India will persist on war in the country, and the centers of the wars will be in the Pakistani borders, the Chinese border Badakhshan Province, and the borders of the Central Asia that is Kunduz. America will threat China and Russia from Badakhshan and Kundoz. Takhar Provinces and some other areas would be insecure for delivering ammunition for war, and those would be the ways for delivery of weapons to the Muslim foreigner fighters.

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