ISIS Takes It To The Taliban In Afghanistan

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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Islamic State fighters recently forced a group of blindfolded Taliban supporters to kneel unwittingly over buried devices set to blow them to bits, upping the ante in the battle between the two forces for Afghanistan.

Recent news confirming Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s death two years ago has emboldened ISIS in its bid to expand into the group’s territory there. Taliban leaders have rejected ISIS rule, and ISIS is challenging the Taliban’s territory inside the country.

The footage shows ISIS militants bury explosive devices in the ground, and then force ten blindfolded men accused of aiding the Taliban or the Afghanistan government to kneel on the spot. The militants then run away, leaving the men in suspense before detonating the explosives.

A number of mid-level Taliban commanders defected to ISIS earlier this year, leading ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to claim part of Afghanistan for the caliphate’s “Khorasan Province.” And confirmation of Omar’s death has not only created a power vacuum, but exposed fissures inside Taliban leadership, all likely to prove advantageous to ISIS.

The Taliban confirmed his death in June and appointed his deputy, Mullah Mansoor, who was issuing statements in Omar’s name, as the new leader. But Afghan authorities say Omar actually died two years ago, creating a credibility problem for Mansoor and the rejection of ISIS he made in Omar’s name.

The confusion and distrust paves the way for previously reluctant Taliban supporters to defect to ISIS.

Taliban militants recently attacked Afghanistan’s parliament, killing 2 and injuring 31, in what some foreign policy experts warn was an indication the group is trying to prove to Afghanistan and terrorist groups it is the dominant jihadist force in the area.

“They think that they might be able to re-create what ISIS has done in Iraq,” John Hannah, a senior counselor with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Fox News. “[The parliament attack] is very much the Taliban putting down their marker. And they are on the offensive elsewhere in Afghanistan, picking up territory – the Taliban is back.”

Earlier in June, ISIS militants ambushed about a dozen Taliban fighters retreating from a confrontation with the Afghan government, and then beheaded 10 captives.

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