Homeland Security Network Blog
Left Behind After U.S. Withdrawal, Some Former Afghan Spies And Soldiers Turn To ISIS Cell
The Wall Street Journal
Left Behind After U.S. Withdrawal, Some Former Afghan Spies And Soldiers Turn To Islamic State
By Yaroslav Trofimov
Some former members of Afghanistan’s U.S.-trained intelligence service and elite military units—now abandoned by their American patrons and hunted by the Taliban—have enlisted in the only force currently challenging the country’s new rulers: Islamic State.
The number of defectors joining the terrorist group is relatively small, but growing, according to Taliban leaders, former Afghan republic security officials and people who know the defectors. Importantly, these new recruits bring to Islamic State critical expertise in intelligence-gathering and warfare techniques, potentially strengthening the extremist organization’s ability to contest Taliban supremacy.
An Afghan national army officer who commanded the military’s weapons and ammunition depot in Gardez, the capital of southeastern Paktia province, joined the extremist group’s regional affiliate, Islamic State-Khorasan Province, and was killed a week ago in a clash with Taliban fighters, according to a former Afghan official who knew him.
The former official said several other men he knew, all members of the former Afghan republic’s intelligence and military, also joined Islamic State after the Taliban searched their homes and demanded that they present themselves to the country’s new authorities.
A resident of Qarabagh district just north of Kabul said his cousin, a former senior member of Afghanistan’s special forces, disappeared in September and was now part of an Islamic State cell.
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