The Islamic State group has lost its caliphate in Syria and Iraq, but in the forbidding mountains of northeastern Afghanistan the group is expanding its footprint, recruiting new fighters and plotting attacks on the United States and other Western countries, according to U.S. and Afghan security officials. Nearly two decades after the U.S.-led invasion, the extremist group is seen as an even greater threat than the Taliban because of its increasingly sophisticated military capabilities and its strategy of targeting civilians, both in Afghanistan and abroad. Concerns run so deep that many have come to see the Taliban, which has also clashed with IS, as a potential partner in containing it. A U.S. intelligence official based in Afghanistan told The Associated Press that a recent wave of attacks in the capital, Kabul, is “practice runs” for even bigger attacks in Europe and the United States. “This group is the most near-term threat to our homelands from Afghanistan,” the official said on condition of anonymity to preserve his operational security. “The IS core mandate is: You will conduct external attacks” in the U.S. and Europe. “That is their goal. It’s just a matter of time,” he said. “It is very scary.” Bruce Hoffman, director of the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University, sees Afghanistan as a possible new base for IS now that it has been driven from Iraq and Syria. “ISIS has invested a disproportionate amount of attention and resources in Afghanistan,” he said, pointing to “huge arms stockpiling” in
“The Islamic Emirate wants peace but the first step is to remove obstacles to peace and end the occupation of Afghanistan,” Mullah Baradar Akhund said, appearing openly on television in what appeared to be a calculated move to establish his legitimacy as one of the main public faces of the Taliban.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was born on 1 August 1949. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is an Afghan politician and former warlord. He is the founder and current leader of the Hezb-e Islami political party. He twice served as Prime Minister of Afghanistan during the 1990s. Former mujahideen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is one of the most controversial figures in modern Afghan history.
A former prime minister, he is remembered chiefly for his role in the bloody civil war of the 1990s. A former prime minister, he is remembered chiefly for his role in the bloody civil war of the 1990s.
“It’s obvious that the situation in Afghanistan is not improving, that the threat is growing and that the ground is ripe for radical Islamists or followers and participants of the Islamic State project,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, a foreign policy expert close to the Kremlin who edits the Russia in Global Affairs journal.
Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections entered a second day after delays caused by violence and technical issues, as a roadside bomb killed nearly a dozen civilians on Sunday, including several children.
On Sunday, a roadside bomb in the eastern Nangarhar province struck a vehicle filled with civilians, killing 11 people, including six children, according to Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor.
Afghanistan’s deputy chief executive Mohammad Mohaqiq expressed outrage at the chaotic start to polling and assailed election preparation by the country’s Independent Election Commission.
“The people rushed like a flood to the polling stations, but the election commission employees were not present, and in some cases they were there but there were no electoral materials and in most cases the biometric systems was not working,” he said.
“The attack carried out by a bodyguard of the governor happened moments after the meeting finished, as they were leaving the compound,” Afghanistan Army chief of staff General Mohammad Sharif Yaftali told reporters.
After a meeting chaired by President Ashraf Ghani, “a high-ranking delegation headed by the NDS chief has been deployed to Kandahar to control the situation”, Yaftali added.
Samiullah Mahdi, a prominent television journalist running for parliament, admits the process is “not much trusted”. But he sees the race as a chance to replace a discredited political class of power brokers and local bosses, many who have grown rich on contracts linked to the war.
“If we have fair elections, people will be able to vote for a new generation that thinks of the future.”