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Afghanistan Times

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Editorial: Evil tentacles

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Daesh has become a deadly beast in Afghanistan despite presence of sophisticated international security forces. Spread of Daesh, also known as Islamic State, from one part of the country to another has become a harsh reality that the security community and its international partners are not accepting because it would bring shame. It will also give a message of weakness. To save the rapidly melting image, the high-ranking security officials and their foreign friends have repeatedly claimed defeat of Daesh in the country. Some went to the extent of turning the country into graveyard for the terrorist group that has emerged from nowhere but pressed the panic button soon after its dramatic and mysterious emergence. Daesh was a myth in mid-2014 but it became reality by the end of that year.

Afghan security forces did well by restricting the terrorist outfit to two districts from eight. But the nation is kept on tenterhooks waiting to find out when the group would be eliminated completely. It is also true that the group has become deadliest and making inroads into other provinces, besides Nangarhar. Earlier, the terrorist organization was active in Achin district of Nangarhar. Now, Daesh fighters are killing men and raping women in Pacheeragam district of the province. Core questions remain unanswered such as what went wrong when Afghan security forces performed beyond expectations and proved mettle against IS in Achin. After fall of the IS base in Nangarhar, it was thought that the terrorist group had been defeated.

However, it is wreaking havoc in Pacheeragam. Three different groups including Afghan security forces, local militia and the Taliban are fighting IS in the restive district. Yet, there is no end in sight to Daesh activities. It has become clear like a broad daylight that the terrorist group is backed by certain countries. Increasing number of fighters and spread speaks volumes that the terrorist outfit is getting support from outside Afghanistan. Residents of various villages in Pacheeragam have abandoned their homes because they were tired of digging graves for the IS fighters. Locals were forced by Daesh to dig graves for the killed terrorists.

There are mere assumptions about sponsors of Daesh. Reality is deep in the mist of conspiracy theories and wild guesses. But there is no denying that Afghan government has been left alone by regional players in the fight against terrorism. Kabul has not received intelligence, military hardware and technical support necessary for pounding sanctuaries of the IS.

Reports suggest that most of IS recruits come from Pakistan. Therefore, if Islamabad has paid heed to Kabul’s demand to eliminate terrorists, situation on the ground has been different now. Without supporting of neighboring and regional countries, Afghans cannot eliminate Daesh—once and for all.