For most people, the impression of ISIS’ scope in Afghanistan is a purely theoretical thing, to be determined from Pentagon reports of them achieving “operational” status, or local reports of them fighting Taliban leaders over rural territory. For people in Jalalabad, the signs of growing ISIS influence are as close as their radio.
Over the past week, ISIS has begun broadcasting “caliphate radio” which can be picked up in and around the eastern city, admonishing locals to reject the “infidel government” and to avoid interaction with all non-Muslims.
ISIS already had a multi-lingual radio station based in Mosul, Iraq, and a sister station out of Sirte, Libya Like those, the Afghan station consists primarily of interviews with jihadist fighters and updates on their growing presence.
Though their largest presence in Afghanistan is in and around the Nangarhar Province and Jalalbad, ISIS has some presence in several provinces across the nation, and is recruiting actively in virtually every province, aiming to replace the Taliban as the go-to jihadist movement nationwide.