The move is seen as a step on the way to establish an ISIL province in Afghanistan. The camp is most likely in the Nangarhar province in the east of Afghanistan, The Long War Journal reported. It further suggested that the “Afghan army is reportedly struggling to contain the threat amid heavy personnel losses and daily battle; with up to 500 personnel deaths per month.”
However, political analyst and journalist Hasan Abdullah told Radio Sputnik that ISIL’s presence in Afghanistan is not that significant for now and has been exaggerated.
“ISIL is present in Afghanistan and in Pakistan but its significance is exaggerated. When we talk in particular about the Nangarhar province we find a number of former Pakistani Taliban splinter groups who have a leaning towards the so-called Islamic State. Their number has been close to 3,000 or so, and they have been a nuisance for Pakistan and for the Afghan government there, but the fact that they have shifted their allegiance to ISIL will not have such a significant difference,” Abdullah said.
The analyst further said, “There have been certain incidents such as executions that tend to grab a lot of media attention but from a military point of view their significance is not such a threat as the Taliban or even al-Qaeda.”
He spoke further about the concept with which these jihadist groups went to Syria as they saw it as a global struggle and they felt united in their theology in the beginning.
“Many of them felt that they have to pledge allegiance to someone who sees the world from their global view. Many of them were those who were active since the Afghan war. But now they feel that these killings and executions are against what they stood for. There is polarization even within the jihadi ranks.”
The analyst further said, “Taliban actually issued a statement against ISIL stating that the former had been interfering in their affairs. There have been skirmishes in areas close to Jalalabad; however, there hasn’t been a formal announcement from the Taliban.”
“It seems that now the Taliban is focusing on the soft power aspect as well, whereas, Islamic State is not really concerned at all with perception management and is really going all out with its looting and killings,” Abdullah said.