Despite escalating their fight against the Afghan government and NATO occupation forces and being in the middle of a major internal fight surrounding leadership, the main Taliban focus in recent months appears to be fighting against ISIS.
Though most reports on ISIS in Afghanistan suggest the group is growing successfully and beating back most resistence, with the Pentagon confirming the group is “operational,” the Taliban has actually established a “special forces” unit of 1,000 of their most seasoned fighters specifically to go after ISIS.
That suggests that the Taliban is taking the ISIS presence a lot more seriously than previously indicated, and that the ISIS presence in Afghanistan must be much more formiddable than previously acknowledged to be not only surviving this sustained offensive, but growing in the face of it.
Clearly ISIS in Afghanistan is more than just a passing collection of disaffected Taliban commanders, as initially thought, and its recent recruiting success points to the affiliaate’s status as a serious long-term threat to unseat the Taliban as the primary Islamist rebel faction in Afghanistan.
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