For young jihad-minded students in Afghanistan, joining the Taliban or one of its associated groups has long been a no-brainer. They are, after all, one of the longest-standing such groups in the world.
But the ISIS bandwagon is growing even in remote Afghanistan, with students seeing the large territory ISIS has carved out in such a short time, and seeing the Taliban as comparatively feckless.
“The Taliban are more of a political movement but Daesh (ISIS) is purely Islamic,” noted one of several students who are forming pro-ISIS student groups in the nation.
In the near-term, NATO occupation forces may see this as a gain, as it means the Taliban’s recruitment isn’t going as well as it once was. Ultimately, however, it may either force the Taliban into a reformation toward more extreme, ISIS-style doctrines, or simply result in ISIS becoming the dominant faction in yet another nation.