Terrorism

Afghanistan intensifies fight against ISIL

By Najibullah

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Afghan forces receive training at a military camp in Kabul June 1. Afghanistan has intensified its fight against ISIL, officials say. [Najibullah]

KABUL -- The Afghan government is furthering its efforts to prevent the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) from operating in Afghanistan.

Shortly after ISIL declared its presence in Afghanistan in 2015, Kabul announced that it would not allow the group -- infamous for atrocities in Syria and Iraq -- to become active in the country.

The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) soon followed up by creating a special unit to fight ISIL.

The Afghan cabinet May 30 ratified its strategic plan to fight ISIL. Details of the plan are not available.

ISIL's fantasies in Afghanistan are crushed

ISIL once had grand ambitions of establishing bases and recruiting extensively in Afghanistan, Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman Gen. Dawlat Waziri told Central Asia Online.

"It was looking forward to building large bases in Ghazni, Nimroz and Nangarhar provinces, as well as in some cities in Afghanistan, but to no avail," he told Central Asia Online.

"ISIL suffered heavy losses ... because of operations by the ANSF," he said.

ISIL commanders perished in 2015 in Helmand, Nangarhar and Paktia provinces, along with dozens of their followers, he said.

"The Afghan government is determined to destroy ISIL," Waziri said. "If it begins to operate anywhere ... the ANSF will destroy it."

The tempo of anti-ISIL operations has remained just as intense in 2016.

A recent ANSF operation in Nangarhar Province killed several members of ISIL, media reported.

The increasingly competent Afghan air force killed at least six ISIL militants in Achin District, Nangarhar Province, Ataullah Khogyani, the Nangarhar spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News June 21.

The ANSF killed at least 39 ISIL militants in Nangarhar Province in April, the MoD said.

ISIL ideology contrary to Afghan culture

ISIL's terrorist ideology has no place in Afghan culture, citizens and analysts say.

"ISIL forces came to Nangarhar and announced their terrorist plans, causing fear and terror," Sulaiman Muhammadi, a Nangarhar resident, told Central Asia Online.

Fortunately, the ANSF inflicted catastrophic defeats on ISIL, preventing it from realising its plans, he added.

By ratifying the strategic anti-ISIL plan, the government is showing that it will track the group closely and will crush it, analysts say.

"The existence of a specific military strategy against ISIL will guide security personnel on how to plan and fight against this group," Muhammad Hasan, a Kabul-based security analyst, told Central Asia Online. "It makes it even easier for soldiers to fight this group."

"If the government has a reliable strategy and serious motivation ... the group will not be able to find itself a base in Afghanistan," he said.

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