Can the Taliban stop the powerful IS threat?

The Taliban are now in control of Afghanistan. This means that there is a new enemy.

Can the Taliban stop the powerful IS threat?

Another violent phase is being predicted by the Islamic State group. The Taliban, an ex-insurgent group, will now play the role as the state after the U.S. troops have left Afghanistan and the allied Afghan government.

The Taliban pledged the United States that they would keep the extremist group under control during subsequent rounds of peace negotiations. The 2020 U.S. - Taliban accord guaranteed that Afghanistan would not be a safe haven for terrorist organizations threatening the U.S. and its allies.

It is not clear if they will be able to keep their promise, given the sudden increase in IS attacks following the Taliban takeover on August 15.

46 Shiites were killed in a bombing that struck a Kunduz mosque on Friday. Another deadly IS attack has struck Kabul and the provinces to its east and north. Smaller attacks are almost daily targeting Taliban fighters.

"Historically, most IS attacks have targeted states... Now that the U.S. is almost gone and the international presence is minimal, they must go after the state -- the Taliban is the state," stated Andrew Mines, research fellow at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.

LONG RIVALRY

Both IS and the Taliban advocate the rule of their radical interpretations Islamic law. However, there are important ideological differences that fuel their hatred.

Taliban claim they are creating an Islamic State in Afghanistan within the borders of Pakistan.

IS claims it is THE Islamic State. It insists that all Muslims support it. It doesn't recognise the Taliban as an Islamic pure movement and is contemptuous towards their nationalist goals. Similar reasons have made IS a long-standing enemy of al Qaida.

Both IS and the Taliban advocate extreme Islamic Shariah laws and use suicide bombers. IS, however, was more brutal than the Taliban and carried out more severe punishments when it ruled over territory in Syria and Iraq.

In Afghanistan, IS was established in 2015 under the name Islamic State of Khorasan Province. This happened at a time when IS was at its height, and controlled large swathes of Iraq and Syria. It was made up of members from Pakistani and Afghan militants, as well as a wave defectors to the Taliban.

Initial support was found among the small Salafist movement of Afghanistan in eastern Kunar, Nangarhar and Nangarhar provinces. After being marginalized by the Taliban, the Salafist movement connected with the rising IS to find a way to establish military power.

Some Salafi clerics have voiced opposition to IS's brutality since then. After its inception, IS suffered severe setbacks from the Taliban and U.S. airstrikes. However, IS has seen a resurgence over the past year.

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