The largest of Pakistan’s provinces, Balochistan is by most measures a mess, filled with ethnic separatist militant factions as well as Sunni Islamist groups constantly attacking the region’s Shi’ite minority.
For ISIS, it seems like a potential gold mine, with myriad militant factions to infiltrate and a large population of disaffected Sunnis to recruit from.
That’s why ISIS says it is setting up its South Asian base of operations in Balochistan, hoping it can attract veteran militants as well as members of the Afghan Taliban, some of which have been in Quetta since the US occupation of Afghanistan began.
Between the Baloch separatists, the anti-Shi’ites, the Islamist groups built to attack Indian forces in Kashmir, and the Afghan holdouts, there’s a wide variety of recruits to choose from, and ISIS has shown a remarkable allure for jihadi militants the world over. With Pakistan already struggling with the Balochistan unrest that’s already in place, ISIS could quickly spiral out of their control.
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