Franz-Stefan Gady at The Diplomat:
Afghan officials confirmed for the first time this week that the terror organization ISIS, which controls large stretches of territory in Iraq and Syria, is operating in Southern Afghanistan. According to BBC sources, Islamic State fighters have been battling Taliban forces in the southwestern province of Helmand with about 20 people from both sides killed and injured.
The Associated Press reports that Mullah Abdul Rauf, a former corps commander under the Taliban rule of Afghanistan, had a falling out with the Taliban leadership in the Pakistani city of Quetta, after which he replaced White Taliban flags with the black flags of the Islamic State, donned black battle fatigues, and pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The Wall Street Journal reports of a 16 minute propaganda video published last Saturday, which purportedly shows a former Pakistani Taliban spokesman pledging his allegiance to the terror group Islamic State and claiming that a number of Taliban field commanders have defected with him. “We are gathered here with commanders from 10 units. They all want to pledge their allegiance to the caliph of all believers, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” proclaims the former spokesperson, Shahidullah Shahid, according to Wall Street Journal reporters who have seen the video.
That JV team sure has expanded its operational environment. Talk about grossly underestimating your enemy. Then again, if you didn’t view them as the enemy to begin with, then you wouldn’t have underestimated your enemy. I wonder which one it was.