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US Pushes ISIS Towards Afghanistan

How the liquidation of the Taliban leader threatens Russia

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Taliban representatives confirmed to the AP that their leader, Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, known as Mullah Mansour, was killed on the night of May 21 at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border American drone attacks.

Some experts believe the liquidation of Mullah Mansour was a response to the non-constructive behavior of Taliban leaders during quadripartite peace talks with the US, Afghanistan, Pakistan and China. Apparently, Mullah Mansour chose to continue the war with Kabul, and that’s why he was no longer a valid negotiating partner.

<figcaption>The death of Mullah Mansour confirmed by Taliban</figcaption>
The death of Mullah Mansour confirmed by Taliban

But there is a different point of view. Today, there is a cruel fight going on in Afghanistan between a growing number of ISIS battalions and the Taliban. Some Taliban field commanders want to ally with ISIS, and only Mansour’s authority forced them to fight it. His death will increase internal conflicts and deepen the split among the Taliban, enhancing ISIS positions in Afghanistan.

Does the US realize that it has drastically changed the balance of forces in Afghanistan by killing the Taliban leader? I think it does. Americans who have been conducting combat actions here for thirteen years have a good understanding of the situation. Why then are they dragging ISIS into Afghanistan?

On the one hand, the opening of a new front will force ISIS leaders to draw off part of its forces from Iraq and Syria, where Americans are deeply bogged down in dead-end bombings and cannot advance. On the other hand, this redirects ISIS from the Middle East theater of operations where it also is bogged down in the civil war in Syria and squeezed in the south of Iraq, to Central Asia where the situation is highly favorable for ISIS’ deployment. The former Soviet republics are split, their governments are corrupt and have lost their authority, the population eeking out a miserable existence. Besides, Pakistan is close by, with millions of Muslims who can also be considered as potential growth targets.   

In this light the liquidation of the Taliban leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansour will seriously enhance the positions of ISIS in Afghanistan and move it closer to Russian frontiers.

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