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01/11/2021 | Some US-trained Afghan elite soldiers and intelligence officers are joining ISIS

Joseph Fitsanakis

SMALL BUT GROWING NUMBERS of American-trained members of Afghanistan’s elite special forces and intelligence agencies are joining the Islamic State in order to fight the Taliban, according to a new report.

 

Some observers are expressing concerns that these new recruits are equipping the Islamic State’s Afghanistan affiliate with advanced skills and expertise that might make the group difficult to defeat in the coming months or even years.

In the weeks after the Taliban’s take-over of Afghanistan, a small group of fighters in the northern regions of the country vowed to engage in armed resistance against the group. They teamed up under Ahmad Massoud, son of anti-Soviet and anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud. They since seem to have been defeated, however, and most of them have now fled the country —a development that apparently marks the end of all armed resistance to the Taliban by former members of the American-supported Afghan government. Other Afghans with access to weapons, most of them members of the army and security forces, have not returned to work since the Taliban take-over, fearing that they will be killed.

For now, the only armed resistance to the Taliban comes from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Khorasan Province, also known as ISIS-K. According to The Wall Street Journal, “relatively small, but growing” numbers of former members of Afghanistan’s security and intelligence agencies, are now joining ISIS-K. In making this claim, the paper cites “Taliban leaders, former Afghan republic security officials and people who know the defectors”. Some of those joining ISIS-K have been trained in unconventional warfare and intelligence-gathering by the United States, claims the paper.

According to the report, those joining ISIS-K appear to do so for two reasons: first, in order to secure a regular income, as they have been left without wages since the collapse of the Washington-supported government in Kabul. Second, because ISIS-K is currently the only armed group that is putting up resistance against the Taliban. Thus, in addition to fighting the Taliban, the former members of Afghanistan’s security and intelligence forces, are also receiving protection from ISIS-K fighters, says the paper.

Intelnews.org (Estados Unidos)

 



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