The ISIS creep into Afghanistan now has an official PR strategy for luring Taliban fighters over to the side of the Islamic State.
Black ISIS flags are being raised in Afghan villages and casualties from firefights have included foreign fighters from places such as Turkey, Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the Kunduz governor said recently. However, the relationship between the Taliban and ISIS has been strained to the point of open warfare in the streets and the Taliban arresting a former commander of theirs, Maulvi Abbas, for switching to ISIS.
In eastern Nangarhar province, ISIS distributed warning fliers to homes warning “women are not allowed to leave their homes without wearing a Burqa and without any Sharia excuse,” according to provincial council member Obaidullah Shenwari last week, and warning elders “not resolve their issues through holding local Jirga [council] but to resolve through Daesh leadership.”
Yesterday, ISIS supporters online were distributing a testimonial — “Why I Left Taliban” — reportedly from a member of a tribe based in Paktia, Khost and Paktika who found the former rulers of Afghanistan to be corrupt and un-Islamic — thus paving the way for ISIS growth among the country’s Islamists.
“I found that they were not serious about Sharia or establishing Caliphate but were aiming at on how to re-sit on the seat of power in Kabul at any cost,” writes the member, identifying himself as Abu Talut Al-Khurasani.
“I can not confirm but many brothers in Taliban told me at one instance when Mullah Omar was consulted on the matter, he suggested that Taliban should pledge allegiance to Islamic State to hold unity between Muslims but were met with disagreements by other senior members in Taliban. I got the idea that the worst is coming and planned my exit from Taliban with other brothers. We couldn’t remain silent on this injustice and treachery against 1.9 billion Muslim by Taliban.”
The testimonial then provides bulleted talking points for Taliban thinking of switching allegiance to the Islamic State, including “most Taliban are racist bigots” against groups such as Uzbeks and Taliban “who under disguise of Jihad work for the supremacy of Pashtuns in Afghanistan.”
Many of the talking points center around the Taliban’s motivation and operations, and recognition of bodies such as the United Nations and European Union:
- “Taliban never intended to take their Jihad around the world but are nationalistic movement that seeks to overthrow Kabul regime.”
- “Taliban do not believe in Caliphate and defending Muslims cause around the world.”
- “Taliban fools Al-Qaeda members with hope that they will be their partner in their Global Jihad.”
- “Taliban believe in diplomacy, politics and compromise even if they have to step over Islamic principles and sharia.”
- “Taliban don’t recognize Muslim Caliphate established by Islamic State.”
- “Some Taliban senior leaders and members work for ISI and military intelligence.”
- “Taliban depend on the Pakistani scholars for fund and support and recuritment of martyrdom seekers, these are the same scholars that occupy seat in Pakistani Parliament.”
The Taliban are also slammed for recognizing international borders and sovereign Gulf states, and not hating Shiites as much as ISIS does.
But the talking points also throw out something else for jihadis to chew on: what if they really have no leader?
“Since 14 years we never heard of Mullah Omar, all audio recording claimed to be circulated to senior Taliban leaders are nothing but lies,” the document says in reference to the furtive one-eyed Taliban leader. “We had no choice but to consider him dead.”
There’s a $10 million bounty on Mullah Omar’s head, who was dethroned in the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. The Taliban published a biography of Mullah Omar in April, stating his favorite weapon is the RPG 7 and he doesn’t own a home or have a bank account.
“I hope by now you all have some idea that Taliban are not mujahedeens but a nationalistic movement who fights for the Pakistani emirate in Afghanistan. I advise all brothers to not use their efforts in support of these groups and movements that does not wish to see a strong Muslim Caliphate that protect all Muslims from the East to the West,” the testimonial continues.
“While other groups and parties only talked about Caliphate and Sharia, Islamic State was able to both established Caliphate and applies sharia wherever it rules… I advise you all who are in different groups, leave them and stand behind your Caliphate, don’t be fooled or deceived by governments, elections and groups that promise you with sharia and caliphate, as you all may know by now they are not serious or sincere about it. Caliphate is already established and now it’s our duty to protect, defend, support, fund and help expand it.”