Locals in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar Province are reporting another round of fighting between Taliban forces in the area and militants calling themselves fighters from ISIS’ “Islamic State.” 10-15 Taliban were reported slain in the latest clashes.
This is the latest in a flurry of incidents around Nangarhar in recent weeks, with reports last week of an ISIS ambush on Taliban forces in which they captured and beheaded several Taliban fighters.
The exact link between Afghanistan’s ISIS fighters and the parent group is thus far unclear; many of the fighters in Afghanistan are reportedly Taliban defectors who believe that they can get more funding and recruitment by associating themselves with the more successful caliphate.
ISIS ultimately backed other groups doing this in Libya and Sinai, giving them considerable training support. It’s unclear if anything of this sort is going on in Afghanistan yet, but if ISIS begins throwing its weight behind this Afghan faction it could greatly change the balance of power in the area.