It seems like the battle for the coolest kids on the battlefield is firmly back on after a report released yesterday by Marshal Radio confirmed that major terrorist groups ISIS and Taliban have announced Jihad against each other.
Police chief of southern Helmand province, Nabi Jan Mulakhel told the radio show on Sunday that he has received documents in which ISIS chief Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi called the Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar “a fool and illiterate warlord” who “does not deserve spiritual or political credibility”. Whilst Taliban leaders have responded by firmly refusing to recognise Baghdadi’s caliphate or allow its flag be raised in Afghanistan.
Mulakhel went on to further explain that he has letters from ISIS in which the group instructs its commander in Helmand province to fight against the Taliban, while the other letters urge the Taliban fighters to suppress ISIS’ activities in Helmand land.
Helmand province has long been considered the holiday hot spot for the Taliban, largely due to it flourishing opium production. According to a 2014 report by the US watchdog, the Opium industry employs more than 411,000 people within Afghanistan and makes up 4% of the country’s estimated GDP. However, with the Taliban using the majority of the income from its sales to fund its operations and systematic corruption, it’s no wonder they’re not ready to up sticks and leave.
Yet as ISIS continues to build upon it’s already thriving fan base- even recruiting former Taliban members who approve of its international caliphate ideology- the Taliban has begun to realise its very real threat to the province they so deeply cherish. The group has now begun to stage a major offensive in Helmand province and are focusing on regaining control of the district of Sangin, where the production of Opium has generated one of the largest source of income for the militants.
The hatred between the two groups was only made worse this month with ISIS admitting it was the mastermind behind the April 18th suicide attack in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan. The explosion, which killed at least 35 innocent civilians and injured 100 more, prompted outrage from the Taliban who claimed it to be “an evil act, we strongly condemn it”.
So, with no sign of either groups settling into a nice quiet life of peace and friendship anytime soon, I guess all that’s left for us to do is wait and see which group America supplies its weaponry to first.