Recently, Ghazni officials and members of the Provincial Council have voiced concern over the settlement of foreign fighters in neighboring Zabul province under the guise of returnees. They have said that many families belonging to foreign fighters have recently sought refuge in Zabul’s Dai Chopan, Khak-e-Afghan and Arghandab districts. The concern about Daesh presence in Zabul comes as the first deputy speaker of Wolesi Jirga had said that the group intended to station about 200 families in each Afghan district.
Although initial assumptions were that the conflict of Daesh conduct with Afghan values may prevent the group from gaining a foothold in Afghanistan, the ground realities now seem to be otherwise with Daesh effectively turning into a great threat, rendering previous calculations wrong.
The terror group utilizes its usual approach to deploy fighters to Afghanistan. It sends its members to countries under the cover of refugees as most of its affiliates currently active in Europe have entered European countries as asylum seekers. Daesh has resorted to using similar tactic in Afghanistan, which will have disastrous consequences for the country.
Foreign terrorists sneaked into Afghanistan after Pakistani troops launched an offensive in the tribal belt. By the same token, the mounting pressure on Daesh in Iraq and Syria prompted some fighters to head to Afghanistan which has porous borders as opposed to other regional countries. Another reason that has helped Daesh to become stronger is fighters opposing the peace deal between the Afghan government and Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) group. It is said that some militants associated with HIG who oppose the peace agreement have been forced to join Daesh for own safety because they also have hostilities with the Taliban.
If the government and the international community don’t take serious actions to stamp out the Daesh terrorist group, it can become a threat greater than the Taliban given its rapid expansion and strength, which will then create a headache not only for Afghanistan, but also the region and the world.