The United Nations has said in its latest report that up to 70 Daesh fighters have come into Afghanistan from Iraq and Syria to gain a foothold in the war-weary country.
The newly-emerged extremist group is recruiting members in 25 of Afghanistan’s total 34 provinces, the report said Friday.
Daesh – which has seized large cities in Iraq and Syria – is gaining a growing number of followers in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban and take control from them, according to the report.
The report by UN’s al-Qaeda monitoring team stated that according to Afghan security forces, about 10 percent of the Taliban insurgency is Daesh sympathizers.
“The number of groups and individuals who are openly declaring either loyalty to or sympathy with ISIL [Daesh] continues to grow in a number of provinces in Afghanistan,” said the report.
Taliban’s ex-supreme leader Mullah Omar’s advisor Abdul Raouf Khadem, who visited Iraq in 2014, has formed his own group in Helmand and Farah provinces, according to the report.
He is allegedly recruiting followers by paying out a large amount of money.
Militants from Pakistan and Uzbekistan, who have fled their country, have come under Daesh banner and have rebranded themselves in recent months, the report added.
Furthermore, the report said the Afghan security authorities do not consider the rapid emergence of Daesh as an “immediate increased threat.”
However it added the Afghan officials are keeping an eye on the growing emergence of Daesh as a “potential new threat.”
The Afghan analysts, meanwhile, reject the presence of Daesh in Afghanistan, believing that they are Taliban and other foreign militants who are rebranding themselves to create more panic in the society.
“I think there is not such a thing by the name of Daesh in Afghanistan. This is part of Pakistan’s proxy war. And this data has also been given to the world by this country,” said Nasrullah Stanekzai, a University professor.
Daesh presence has been considerably sighted in Afghanistan, particularly in eastern Nangarhar province – where the group’s leader for the region Hafiz Saeed and his several commanders were killed a few months ago in air strikes.