The rise of Daesh in Afghanistan is rais­ing alarm in Pak­istan, say ex­perts

Arab News - - INTERNATIONAL -

Pak­istani coun­tert­er­ror­ism of­fi­cials are con­cerned about the spillover of Daesh into their coun­try from eastern Afghanistan and will dis­cuss it at a three-day con­fer­ence from Tues­day.

The Na­tional Counter Ter­ror­ism Au­thor­ity (NACTA) is or­ga­niz­ing the In­ter­na­tional Counter Ter­ror­ism Fo­rum, which aims to high­light Pak­istan’s ef­forts and achieve­ments in coun­ter­ing ter­ror­ism and ex­trem­ism be­fore the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. But it will also fo­cus on the pos­si­bil­ity of the spillover of Daesh into the coun­try.

Of­fi­cials and an­a­lysts in Pak­istan do not rule out the threat of Daesh but in­sist there is no or­ga­nized pres­ence of the group in the coun­try.

Dr. Mo­hammed Shoaib Sud­dle, for­mer head of the In­tel­li­gence Bureau, Pak­istan’s pre­mier civil­ian in­tel­li­gence agency, ar­gues that el­e­ments from the Tehrik-e-Tal­iban Pak­istan (TTP) are now part of Daesh in the re­gion.

“The most rad­i­cal­ized el­e­ments within the TTP pre­fer Daesh. Some oth­ers switched loy­al­ties to Daesh as the out­fit is richer than other groups,” Sud­dle told Arab News on Satur­day. “They have no or­ga­nized pres­ence in Pak­istan, but they are are scat­tered,” he said.

De­fense ex­pert Said Nazeer Mohmand thinks Daesh has fa­cil­i­ta­tors, abet­tors and fi­nanciers in Pak­istan but the group’s “sui­cide bombers and fight­ers” come from Afghanistan and carry out at­tacks in the coun­try.

“Pak­istan still faces the threat of Daesh but Afghanistan is the prime lo­ca­tion of the group where its fight­ers get arms and train­ing,” Mohmand, a re­tired bri­gadier of the Pak­istan Army, told Arab News.

He also pointed to the “sus­pi­cions” in Afghanistan about the emer­gence of Daesh in the coun­try and re­ferred to the state­ments of for­mer Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai, who a num­ber of times has ac­cused the “US of en­abling Daesh pres­ence in Afghanistan.” The US has de­nied the charges.

“There is a nar­ra­tive in Afghanistan that Daesh is used against the Tal­iban, and also to cre­ate panic in Cen­tral Asian states and also Rus­sia,” Mohmand said. He said the strate­gic di­rec­tion of Daesh to­ward Pak­istan is less than to the Cen­tral Asian states, and that is why the group’s fight­ers had been in­volved in at­tacks in north­ern Afghanistan in re­cent months. He ob­served Daesh could have up to 3,000 sym­pa­thiz­ers in Pak­istan in view of their at­tacks in the coun­try.

Daesh has car­ried out dozens of at­tacks in Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchis­tan prov­inces. How­ever, some­times it has claimed re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in Sindh prov­ince as well, for in­stance when it said it was behind the Se­hwan Shrine bomb­ing in Fe­bru­ary 2017, which had killed nearly 90 peo­ple and in­jured about 300 oth­ers.

NACTA Coordinator Ih­san Ghani said Tues­day’s con­fer­ence is aimed at bring­ing to­gether lead­ing in­ter­na­tional and Pak­istani ex­perts, schol­ars, prac­ti­tion­ers, think-tanks and opin­ion-mak­ers in counter-ex­trem­ism and counter-ter­ror­ism.

It will de­lib­er­ate on the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion and fu­ture chal­lenges and re­sponses, he said, adding that the fo­rum will also en­gage diplo­mats, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, politi­cians, UN agen­cies, in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, the me­dia, civil so­ci­ety and the world com­mu­nity at large.

Ex­perts say Saqib Nisar should fo­cus on dis­pens­ing timely jus­tice to the peo­ple, as this will in­crease the apex court’s in­tegrity and re­spect in the coun­try. (Cour­tesy APP)

A mem­ber of the Afghan se­cu­rity forces es­corts ar­rested Daesh mil­i­tants at a po­lice sta­tion in Jalal­abad. (File photo/AFP)

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