While the fight against ISIS has drawn the attention of Washington and the international community, the security situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating quickly.
Chopping off heads seems to be a radical Islamic sport. While ISIS was murdering innocents in Syria and Iraq, the Taliban in Afghanistan killed 80 people including 12 who were beheaded, according to a report by AFP.
The Taliban, which had retreated deep into remote Afghan provinces during last spring’s election, launched an offensive in eastern Afghanistan this week. This attack follows similar ones in Kandahar, Helmand and Logar, three provinces where Americans spent years fighting the Taliban.
The new series of offensives comes following July’s presidential runoff election has finally broken political deadlock. Amid allegations of voter fraud, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah have been battling for control of the country. Earlier this week, Ghani agreed to be president, with Abdullah taking on a role similar to prime minister.
Now that the president has been named, the United States hopes to sign a bilateral security agreement that would keep around 10,000 American troops in Afghanistan after 2014. The agreement has been on hold since the spring, when former Afghan President Hamid Karzai refused to sign it.
“(The deal) offers a huge opportunity for progress in Afghanistan, for the signing of the BSA in a week or so, inauguration next week for the new president," Secretary of State John Kerry said of the power sharing agreement in New York earlier this week.
Time of Transition
Ghani’s appointment comes at a key time for Afghanistan. As many feared, the Taliban is reemerging as U.S. troops leave. This has led to a serious rift with neighboring Pakistan. Afghan officials said that fighters crossing the border from Pakistan are fueling the Taliban’s advance.
The Washington Post reported last Friday that Afghan allegations “include charges that Pakistan’s military and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) are recruiting, training and equipping Afghan Taliban fighters as most U.S. troops withdraw from Afghanistan this year.”
There are also growing concerns that ISIS is starting to recruit in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The New Republic said recruiting pamphlets, written in Pushto, Dari, and Farsi, were distributed at Afghan refugee camps.
“Every Muslim must follow the orders of Caliph and should contribute in whichever capacity he or she can to assist the Islamic State against Taghoot (the enemies),” the pamphlets read.
According to the Pentagon, the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria is finding early success. The reemergence of the Taliban, and the rise of ISIS in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is a reminder that this fight is far from over.
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