A new insurgent group has emerged in Afghanistan, breaking off from the Taliban and even more extreme, and is on a campaign to terrorize Afghan officials and even more moderate insurgents.
The Taliban has publicly disavowed the new group and its “current campaign of psychological and terror attacks,” as Afghan officials described it, is a window into the violence and militancy that will plague Afghanistan for years going forward.
The group calls itself the Mullah Dadullah Front, after a notoriously bloodthirsty Taliban commander who was killed in 2007. Members have sent messages and made telephone calls to people in the Afghan Parliament, threatening increased violence if they vote in favor of the strategic partnership agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan.
The strategic partnership agreement signed earlier this month by Washington and Kabul would maintain a significant U.S. presence in Afghanistan until at least 2024. The U.S. will continue the war, including conducting night raids and drone strikes into Pakistan, well beyond this 2014 date.
President Obama has claimed the Taliban’s momentum has been broken, but in a report submitted in early May to Congress, the Pentagon acknowledged a “resilient” Taliban and in January the National Intelligence Estimate concluded the war is still a “stalemate,” that the Taliban are still strong.
The rise of the new, more radical insurgent group in Afghanistan demonstrates how failed the U.S. mission in the country has been and how strong the insurgency will continue to be so long as the U.S. refuses to leave.