As the US and Western militaries are busy in Kabul evacuating thousands of their citizens and Afghanis and their families who worked with them, there was this looming threat of an ISIS or ISIL attack on the airport targeting evacuation process and Taliban security forces. The Taliban are now in complete control of the capital Kabul whom ISIS considers an enemy. Today there was a bombing near the airport where scores were killed. The Taliban said that attack took place in an area under US security and blamed them for negligence while US blamed ISIS for the attack. The Taliban also told Russian media that they had already warned US and NATO of an imminent attack. But the question is what is the background of ISIS, its entry into Afghanistan and how did they become sworn enemies of the Taliban?
ISIS is totally different from Taliban. They are more of a shadowy organization that suddenly emerged from Iraq and established their state on the border region of Iraq & Syria, which only lasted less than a year. ISIS carries a global ambition of establishing a Khilafat or Caliphate and demands that all Muslims around the world should pledge allegiance to its ideology. Its a bit hasty, irrational approach that they carry. How can you demand something from the entire Muslim world when you yourself are not established, when you yourself are at this time operating from underground cells, and your presence is only felt when you claim bombings which are also mostly targeting innocent Muslims? After entering Afghanistan they demanded Taliban’s allegiance but Taliban refused because they are local mujahideen who were fighting to liberate their country while these foreign scums came to interfere in their business. They were becoming a sort of an obstacle for Taliban to achieve their mission. But Allah ﷻ has finally helped the Taliban and they have today managed to win the entire Afghanistan in a miraculous victory and defeat all their opponents including ISIS.
Its important to note the big difference between deviants like ISIS and the mujahideen like Taliban. Taliban were always a local Afghan resistance movement that was started with the aim to bring peace to the lawlessness and chaos that was spread in the country as a result of Soviet withdrawal and no central government. Their aim was to implement Islamic law/Shariah and they did a pretty good job once they were able to establish their authority over 90% of the country from 1996–2001. They eliminated poppy growth within their own territory which impacted the global illegal drug business. They renamed their country as Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. But the emirate never aimed to spread their rule over entire Muslim world or around the globe, neither did they ever demand allegiance from all Muslims. However, after they were successful in establishing peace and security in late 90s, 9/11 happened and they were blamed for it. US and the West declared them as a terrorist organization, banned them and attacked them.
ISIS - The Modern Day Khawarij
قُلۡ هَلۡ نُنَبِّئُكُم بِٱلۡأَخۡسَرِينَ أَعۡمَٰلًا
ٱلَّذِينَ ضَلَّ سَعۡيُهُمۡ فِي ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَهُمۡ يَحۡسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمۡ يُحۡسِنُونَ صُنۡعًا
Say: "Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds. Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds."
(Al Quran 18:103 - 104)
Called ISIS - Islamic State of Iraq & Syria or Daesh (in Arabic), is a major militant threat that appeared when large protests and uprisings gripped the Middle Eastern and North African region in 2011. They appeared on the border region of Iraq and Syria with the aim to establish a Khilafah (Caliphate) under the leadership of a mysterious figure called Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi,. He claimed himself as the Khalifa (Caliph) of all Muslims, vowed to establish a Khilafah in the entire world and demanded everyone's allegiance. His claims received immediate back lash from worldwide Islamic scholars especially when he and his army justified and indulged in the killings of innocent people in Iraq, Syria and other parts of the Muslim world, declaring those acts legal according to Islam.
Many Islamic scholars, foremost Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, very much likened them to the historical Khawarij, a group of dissenters in early Islam who interpreted the Quran according to their own wishes and declared that all Muslims who did not follow their interpretation have become disbelievers (kafirs) and apostates (murtad) which allows the spilling of their blood as legal. The khawarij indulged in assassination attempts and rebelled against the authority of Hazrat Ali (r.a), the fourth rightly guided successor of the Prophet ﷺ, and also Amir Muawiya, then governor of Syria, similar to the assassinations and suicide bombing tactics of Daesh against today's ruling authorities. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ prophesied their appearance after him when pointing to a man who disobeyed his authority: "There will arise a people from among the progeny of this man who will recite the Qur'aan, but it will not go beyond their throats; they will pass through the religion as an arrow passes through its target." (al-Bukhari and Muslim) And he also informed us “They will kill the Muslims and leave the pagans. If I were to be present when they appear, I would kill them as the killing of the nation of Ad.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari) Another unique characteristic of their that Prophet ﷺ informed us is that: "... if you compare your prayers with their prayers and your fasting with their fasting, you will look down upon your prayer and fasting, in comparison to theirs...." (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) Initially these people were part of the Shia (group) of Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s) when he was the Khalifa. About 12000 of them decided to leave his army after Battle of Siffin when Ali made a truce with Muawiya ending the battle. They declared Ali's decision wrong, declared him and Muawiya both as disbelievers and rebelling against them was legal. They deviated due to their extreme interpretation of Islam.
Thus, the Prophet ﷺ explained to us that these people will outwardly display extreme piety through their worship but in reality Islam will never reach their hearts. They will misinterpret the verses of Quran and those that apply towards the disbelievers they will apply them to the believers and declare spilling of their blood as legal. Their sign is that they will primarily kill and declare war on Muslims. Such characteristics were found in the Khawarij of the past and those that have appeared in our times like Daesh and its affiliates in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan. The Prophet ﷺ went further and even prophesied their appearance in the end of times and their fighting on behalf of dajjal, the anti-Christ: "... They will not cease to appear until the last of them comes with Al-Masih Ad-Dajjal. So when you meet them, then kill them, they are the worst of created beings." (Sunan An Nisai) After defeating the historical khawarij group at the battle of Nahrawan, Ali (r.a) reiterated the above saying of the Prophet ﷺ when someone said: “Praise be to Allah Who has brought them (khawarij) down and relieved us from them.” Ali (r.a) replied: “Verily, by the One in Whose hand is my soul, some of them are still in the loins of men and they have not been born yet, and the last of them will fight on the side of the Antichrist.”
What's very important to note here is that Daesh appeared from Iraq just as historical khawarij also appeared from Iraq, rebelled against the authorities and spilled much innocent blood for their deviated cause. Daesh had no existence before US invasion of Iraq in 2003. In fact, most of the its leaders, 17 of the 25 most important ones, spent time in US run Iraqi prisons between 2004 and 2011, according to the Baghdad based analyst Hisham al-Hashimi. Some were transferred from American custody to Iraqi prisons, where a series of jailbreaks a decade ago allowed many senior leaders to escape and rejoin the ranks that made up the Daesh military hierachy.
The Daesh Factor in Afghanistan
After the so-called Arab spring of 2011 ISIS under the acronym of ISIS-Khurasaan or Daesh Khurasaan started making inroads into Afghanistan with the aim to form their base and spread its tentacles in the region. The US backed Afghan govt failed to check the activities and movements of Daesh and its affiliates. Known for its corruption and weak governance, the Afghan govt even lost most of its territory (about 50%) to the Taliban after a decade of US invasion. While holding authority over half of the country it was the Taliban that proved much stronger in governance and providing justice, and even eliminating Daesh from its own territories, which made the regional states including Iran, Russia and China to rethink their Afghan policy. They decided to increase diplomatic relations with Taliban instead of the weak and corrupt US backed Kabul government. In the last 2 years even US admitted Taliban's success in eliminating Daesh's presence from several areas of Afghanistan. Last year a U.S. counterterrorism official told VOA “The Taliban’s campaign against ISIS-Khorasan in Kunar province is consistent with Taliban public statements to rout the group from Afghanistan. ISIS-Khorasan has continued to face pressure from the Taliban in Kunar province this year,” This was reported after statement from Taliban that “The entire province of Kunar was cleared of Daesh criminals and the people were rescued through this victory,” VOA also reported in 2019 that U.S. Central Command’s General Kenneth McKenzie admitted that Taliban efforts against IS-Khorasan were proven effective: "We've watched the Taliban compress and crush ISIS’s presence on the ground in southern Nangarhar province. That's some of the worst terrain in the world. It was a bloody mess, but they did it."
As the US and its allies complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of August there is a sudden barrage of propaganda push by Western corporate media that somehow Afghanistan is going to become a hotbed of groups like Daesh and its activities. The propaganda is actually aimed at Taliban, overlooking the fact that they eliminated Daesh bases from several areas as well as their commitments with US in Qatar to keep the country safe from such groups, and separately have also made commitments with Russia and China to maintain peace and security in the region. Daesh defeats at the hands of Taliban confirms for us a couple of things. First, that Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is in a better position to maintain the security of this region as opposed to corrupt democratic governments that failed and in some instances were even deliberately involved in the unfolding insecurity for the sake of political benefit. Such as the afghan government’s inability to defeat Daesh may have stemmed from the fact that they could use the group's presence to curtail the power of Taliban who faced attacks from Kabul government and Daesh forces simultaneously. This is the reason why we notice that countries like Russia and China, Iran, Pakistan and Central Asian states like Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, have decided to accept Taliban as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan because of their strength and ability to eliminate terrorist threats and maintain peace and security of the region.
 Isis: the inside story, by Martin Chulov, Thurs 11 Dec, 2015, The Guardian
 US Admits Taliban Offensive Is Whittling IS's Grip on Afghanistan, by Jeff Seldin, VOA, March 20, 2020
 Islamic State Staggers in Afghanistan, but Survives, by Jeff Seldin, VOA, November 21, 2019
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