IS shifting focus to Afghanistan and Central Asia, declares war on Taliban

BISHKEK (TCA) — Islamic State terrorists are seeking to shift the main focus of their activity from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan and neighboring countries in Central Asia, Russian Col. Gen. Andrey Novikov, the head of the Anti-Terrorist Center of the Commonwealth of Independent States said, RT reported on June 24.

The Islamic State terrorist group seeks to subdue some Taliban militants and other local extremist groups to create a new power base in Afghanistan and extend its influence to Central Asia, Novikov warned as he addressed two UN Security Council committees on June 23.

The terrorist group “exports a new model of extremist and terrorist activity from the battle zones [in Syria and Iraq] to the Central Asian states,” he said, as cited by TASS. He particularly emphasized that the growing Taliban activity in the northern regions of Afghanistan, bordering the Central Asian states could be indicative of some Taliban commanders switching their allegiance and joining Islamic State.

Novikov drew attention to the fact that the Taliban had never laid claim to territories outside Afghanistan, while Islamic State in 2015 announced the creation of a new “province” with a center in Afghanistan that should also have included the territories of the Central Asian states.

“In the medium term, Islamic State set a goal of expanding its influence in the northern regions of Afghanistan and gaining access to the border regions of the Central Asian states as well as to the Chinese Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,” Novikov concluded.

In the meantime, Sputnik reported that Daesh (Islamic State) terror group intends to eliminate militants of the Taliban group anywhere, including in Afghanistan, media reported on June 25.

The Tasnim news agency referred to a Daesh commander specifying that the decision to declare war on the Taliban was based on the Daesh belief that Taliban members were betraying Islam.

The Daesh decision came in the follow-up to an announcement by the Taliban of its readiness to target Daesh members, made earlier to Tasnim by the Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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