“Labeled as ‘refugees from Pakistan’, ISIS militants are moving from Pakistan all throughout Afghanistan in the wait for the ISIS project to fully start.” The alarming claim coming from Zahir Qadir, the First Deputy speaker of the Lower House of the Parliament, is bound to be the beginning of a new terrifying chapter in the never-ending story of Afghanistan war.
At the same time locals of Herat City, in western Afghanistan, told Afghan Dispatch that surprisingly more than any other times young men and families arrived and started knocking at residents’ doors asking for money and speaking Urdu (Pakistan’s official language) or Pakistani Pushto accent.
“The Afghan Security forces are busy fighting Daesh militants in most areas of the country while unknown helicopters at midnight drop food to Taliban rebels,” Zahir Qadir told the media, without giving more details. “In the last two years ISIS terrorist group has been present and active in a few provinces of Afghanistan.”
Last October, he announced that reports on the Afghan government’s work on the suppression of ISIS are “false”.
ISIS as a new chapter in the Afghanistan war?
Qadir has been criticizing the national government’s performance against the Islamic State (IS) or Daesh militants for a long time, and now, with the Taliban project of destabilization of the country nearing the end, ISIS terrorism seems an always more real factor in the Afghanistan war.
Native from Nangarhar Province, specifically from the Shinwari District considered the base of ISIS militants in Afghanistan, for years Zahir Qadir has had an armed group under his direct supervision and he announced he’s ready to operate under the government framework towards a complete elimination of ISIS terrorists from the area, or he would act independently to clear his province.
More than any other Parliament member, he has been bringing this issue up, and this time he mentioned the names of a few key officials in the government who, he claims, have been clearly supporting ISIS.
Last year, Haji Zahir Qadir, along with hundreds of his armed supporters carried out raids against Daesh for three months. After the operations, and upon his return to Kabul, he told the Lower House that Daesh key members were living in Kabul undisturbed, outspokenly accusing Hanif Atmar, Senior National Security Adviser of the President, and Mohammed Masoom Estanakzay, former Minister of Department of Defense, of supporting ISIS.
National Security Council (NSC) and the Ministry of Interior rejected Qadir’s allegations as unsubstantiated. In response, Zahir Qadir appeared in the national TV claiming to be in possession of the evidence for his accusations.
In December 2015, after the three months of fights against ISIS, he announced that the national government would certainly collapse if he presented the evidence of the National Security Council’s support for the Islamic State (ISIS).
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani appointed a delegation to investigate Qadir’s claims, but the results of his investigations are yet to be announced.
According to many Afghan political analysts, the mission of ISIS in Afghanistan is to threaten and destabilize the bordering Russian-influenced countries such as Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and, last but not least, the border with China, which is another of the main targets of Daesh terrorist group.
As ISIS terrorists seem to be a disturbing yet real presence in the Middle East and Central Asia, war in Afghanistan looks nowhere near the end.