Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Daesh (ISIL-Khorasan) Named as Terrorist Organization

The nature of terrorism and insurgency is now turning into a complex and complicated phenomenon in Afghanistan. The security situation is deteriorating again and the prospects of peace and tranquility are not very clear. Earlier, it was only Taliban who posed a serious threat to the country but now Afghanistan is to face Daesh as well, which seems to be getting stronger with each passing day. Previously, there were claims that the growth of Daesh in Afghanistan may only be an exaggeration but the situation now clearly depicts that the claims were not far away from reality.

The growth of Daesh would mount double challenge for Afghan government and the security forces. There are already doubts and questions about the performance of Afghan security forces against the growing threats of Taliban in different parts of the country, the rise of Daesh would mean their capabilities would be further tested. Daesh has had a history of ruthless massacre and tyranny in Central Asian countries and it largely differs from Taliban the way its militants operate. There have already been certain incidents wherein they have shown inhumane tyranny against innocent civilians and some security forces.

Another major factor that is supporting the growth of Daesh is that many ex-Taliban militants have joined it and they are now fighting under its flag. Moreover, the week security mechanism to have a check on its growth has further deteriorated the situation. Now, Daesh militants are openly operating in certain parts of the country.

The existence of Daesh in Afghanistan and Pakistan is now widely accepted and recently US Department of State has declared Daesh - ISIL - Khorasan (ISIL-K) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

According to a statement by US Department of State, ISIL-K (Daesh) announced its formation on January 10, 2015. The group is based in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region and is composed primarily of former members of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban. The senior leadership of ISIL-K has pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Daesh. This pledge was accepted in late January 2015 and since then ISIL-K has carried out suicide bombings, small arms attacks and kidnappings in eastern Afghanistan against civilians and Afghan National Security and Defense Forces, and claimed responsibility for May 2015 attacks on civilians in Karachi, Pakistan.

The U.S Department of State has also said that the imposition of sanctions by the United States against terrorists is an important element of their counter terrorism efforts. Designations of terrorists and terrorist groups expose and isolate individuals and organizations, and result in denial of access to the U.S. financial system. Moreover, designations can assist or complement the law enforcement actions of other U.S. agencies and other governments, said the department.

Some analysts believe that this may be a change of policy by the US. It may no longer concentrate on the Taliban insurgents but would focus more on Daesh. However, it is important to see the issue of terrorism and insecurity in Afghanistan as a whole. Taliban or Daesh, whatever, may be the name, the insurgents and terrorists are there to terrorize the people, spread violence and promulgate instability. Therefore, it is imperative that the Afghan government and international community must never lose focus from this menace in its entirety.

So, the optimism about the result of ‘transition’ in Afghanistan is still premature; as there are clear indications that security concerns are yet to be dealt with. Above all, the so-called war against terrorism has not reached to a decisive position as the terrorism and terrorist networks are yet to be defeated and there are great chances that they may get stronger if the war is left at this particular position. Further, the ongoing situation of peace and tranquility also suggest that there are many things to be done before the victory is considered decisive.

Keeping in mind the concerns regarding the capabilities of Afghan security forces and the strengthening terrorist networks the feared situation is quite possible. There have been many sacrifices to achieve positive outcomes from the war against terrorism; these sacrifices should not go in vain and Afghanistan should be supported so that it can stand strong with dignity against disorder and terrorism. At the same time, the Afghan government and authorities must also strive to do their best in fulfilling their responsibilities and must endeavor to guide the nation towards lasting peace and tranquility.

In the meanwhile, the role and support of international community in Afghanistan must not be underestimated. As the security challenges are rising with the attacks of Taliban and rise of Daesh militants, the security measures and apparatus in the country will be highly tested; and they can only be successful when the unconditional support continues for them. The only condition that can be set is the restoration of peace and tranquility; before that, closing of support by international community may mean isolation of Afghanistan in the quagmire of instability and terrorism.