ISIS 'certain to lose' in Afghanistan

By Ziar

A member of the Afghan security forces escorts alleged 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' (ISIS) fighters in Jalalabad May 29 following their arrest in Nangarhar Province. [Noorullah Shirzada/AFP]

A member of the Afghan security forces escorts alleged 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' (ISIS) fighters in Jalalabad May 29 following their arrest in Nangarhar Province. [Noorullah Shirzada/AFP]

KABAUL -- The ideology of the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) has no place in Afghan culture or society, residents directly impacted by the group's violence say.

Afghans have rejected ISIS activities in the two years the group has been active in eastern Afghanistan, even if the group has killed those who defy its demands.

Khyber Sayyaf, 25, a student at Kabul University, knows firsthand ISIS's cruelties as a resident of Chaparhar District, Nangarhar Province.

"When ISIS members come to our villages, we are obliged to put our hands on our chests and to look at the ground," he told Salaam Times. "If we don't comply, they inflict arbitrary punishments."

The punishments include extortion of money, crops and livestock -- or worse, he said.

"They have frequently killed innocent civilians," Sayyaf said. "They are against humanity and Islamic traditions."

"They don't know ... what God has said in the Koran about mercy and kindness," he said. "They disgrace the name of Islam and are merely trying ... to further destroy the lives of Afghans."

Afghans are fed up with the "insecurity and chaos" ISIS sows, Sayyaf said. "ISIS, its ideology and fighters, belong to a disastrous phenomenon that has nothing in common with Afghans."

"We want the government and the international community's help to stand shoulder to shoulder in beating them," he said.

ISIS losses mount

Since ISIS in January 2015 announced the formation of its Khorasan branch, which operates in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the group has suffered heavy casualties at the hands of Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) and allied militaries.

In April, the US military dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on ISIS tunnels in remote Nangarhar Province, killing at least 90 members, according to the Afghan government.

Days later, Abdul Hasib, leader of the ISIS Khorasan branch, was killed in a targeted raid by special forces, also in Nangarhar Province.

ISIS's losses have continued to mount in recent months, played out most recently in Tora Bora.

Afghan forces expelled ISIS from Tora Bora, Nangarhar Province, in operations June 17-18, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), foiling its plans to build its Khorasan branch headquarters there.

"This year, ISIS was beaten badly in Afghanistan for a number of reasons, [foremost because] ISIS and its ideology do not fit with the culture of Afghanistan," Farhad Sediqi, an MP representing Kabul, told Salaam Times.

"The Taliban, being Afghans, can participate in the Afghan political system if they want by joining the peace process," he said. "However, ISIS fighters neither come from Afghanistan nor have any anything in common with Afghans and will never be part of our government."

"When a force is not aligned to the culture and tradition of a region, it is certain to lose and that is the sealed fate that awaits ISIS in Afghanistan," Sediqi said. "Afghanistan will only turn into a graveyard for them."

Eliminating ISIS in Afghanistan

"ISIS is being eliminated in Afghanistan," MoD deputy spokesman Gen. Mohammad Radmanesh told Salaam Times.

ISIS is fundamentally incompatible with Afghanistan's culture, people, social values and traditions, he said.

"This is its biggest weakness and why Afghans don't help it recruit fighters," he said. "Afghans have seen ISIS's hypocrisy towards Islam in the murders and unjustified violence it commits."

Radmanesh urged Afghanistan's allies to continue their commitment to the ANDSF air and ground forces, emphasising the Afghan air force's need for "radar systems and fighter jets".

"The honourable people and government of Afghanistan and allies have decided mutually to eradicate the roots of this misfortune," he said.

Haseebullah Amani, a student at a private university in Kabul, echoed those sentiments.

"ISIS is alien to this soil," he told Salaam Times. "I have no doubt that with the help of the government and its allies, Afghans, who have defended their territory throughout history, will crush this group too."

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