ISIS Recruitment Undermines Taliban, Afghan Army

Heavy Recruitment Taking Place in Helmand Province

The Helmand Province of Afghanistan has been one of the main recruiting pools for the Taliban for quite some time, and poverty in the area has also made it one of several places the Afghan Army has relied on for new recruits.

Locals are reporting increasing competition, however, as ISIS is setting up shop in the area and throwing a lot of money around trying to attract young people to their side instead. Indications are that it’s working, and ISIS is out-competing both the Taliban and the military.

The Afghan military report on struggles in Helmand details widespread corruption in the military, Taliban infiltration of military and police units meaning weapons are disappearing en masse, and soldiers in some districts not getting paid for months.

With the Afghan military in such disarray, and the Taliban also facing a leadership battle, ISIS seems to be well positioned to present themselves as an alternative in the area, using the same tactics that have allowed them to establish footholds elsewhere in the world.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.