The Taliban has released a letter to ISIS in Afghanistan after recent clashes, calling on the group to stop “interfering” in the nation, and admonishing them that the nation has only room for one Islamist faction resisting the NATO occupation.
A small ISIS faction has set up shop in Pakistan and Afghanistan, mostly recruiting from disaffected Taliban members who see more of a future in the grand, global jihadist movement than with the country-centric, aging Taliban leadership.
This has been a problem for a lot of different Islamist factions when ISIS comes to town, but the Taliban is among the most substantial, dominating much of Afghanistan for decades, and Afghanistan’s long-standing history of being independent, and uninterested in international movements may help the Taliban retain influence.
Obviously, ISIS isn’t going away just because the Taliban asked nice though, and the fact that the Taliban issued this statement at all reflects them believing this is a problem that’s only getting bigger. As ISIS grows it may ironically strengthen the Taliban’s position at the bargaining table, however, because if there’s one thing NATO loves it’s the “lesser of two evils.”