ISIL actively recruiting in Afghanistan: US general
A high-ranking commander of the foreign forces in Afghanistan says the Takfiri ISIL terror group is actively recruiting militants in the war-torn country amid its ongoing terrorist operations in Iraq and neighboring Syria.
General John F. Campbell, the commander of the NATO Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, told reporters in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Saturday that ISIL is making use of a sophisticated social media campaign in order to woo local Taliban militants.
The trend has culminated in many Afghan militants re-branding and pledging allegiance to the terrorist outfit, said the senior US commander, adding, however, that the Takfiri group has yet to make any significant operational moves in the Asian country.
Campbell said ISIL’s presence in Afghanistan has grown considerably in the past six months.
According to the US general, many Taliban members have become disillusioned with the militant group’s leadership and see the ISIL as offering “an opportunity to maybe gain resources.”
ISIL controls parts of Syria and Iraq, and has been carrying out horrific acts of violence against all communities in the two countries. The extremist group has recently extended its terror raids to Libya in North Africa.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has said that ISIL is worse than al-Qaeda and poses a serious threat to Afghanistan.
The governor of the northern Afghan province of Kunduz, Mohammed Omar Safi, also said on May 8 that ISIL militants are “supporting the Taliban, training the Taliban, trying to build the capacity of the Taliban for a bigger fight.”
Safi added that Afghanistan has been witnessing a massive influx of foreign militants from a host of countries, including Pakistan and Tajikistan as well as the Chechnya in North Caucasus.
Afghanistan faces a security challenge years after the United States and its allies invaded the country in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed Taliban from power, but many areas in the country are still witnessing violence.
At least 13,500 foreign forces remain in Afghanistan despite the end of the US-led combat mission, which came on December 31, 2014. The forces, mainly from the US, are there for what Washington calls a support mission. US-led NATO says the forces will focus mainly on counter terrorism operations and training Afghan soldiers and policemen.