Special Report: The Rise of the Islamic State in Afghanistan

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is one of the deadliest and most potent terror groups the world has ever known and has made its way to Afghanistan. It emerged due to interstate fragility, foreign policy failure, and perennial instability in the Middle East. The 2003 United States’ intervention in Iraq and the Arab Spring contributed to the creation of ISIS. The United States’ removal of late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein — hardly the region’s first socio-political convulsion — facilitated figurative tectonic shifts in political and religious realities. Sunni Muslims, who long ruled Iraq, suddenly found themselves overtaken and systematically oppressed by Shiites. ISIS capitalized on the subsequent Sunni grievance. Given the recent developments which have included President Trump dropping the “mother of all bombs” which targeted a network of tunnels used by ISIS in 2017,  the loss of territory in Syria and the continued battles with the Taliban, has led ISIS to look for new opportunities. This search has led ISIS to move toward Afghanistan as they are geographically strategic and currently the government is very fragile.

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