Daesh: Emerging regional threat

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Dr Muhammad Khan

WHILE describing the horrors of Daesh in Afghanistan, ‘The Washington Post’ gave a detail account in its October 13, 2015 editorial page. The report says that, “When the Islamic State fighters seized the Mahmand Valley; they poured pepper into the wounds of their enemies. Then, they seared their hands in vats of boiling oil. A group of villagers was blindfolded, tortured and blown apart with explosives buried underneath them. A victim of Daesh brutalities in Afghanistan while describing the cruel acts of this terrorist outfit says; “They pulled out my brother’s teeth before they forced him to sit on the bombs.” They are more vicious than the Taliban, than any group we have seen.”
The Reuters in its July 30, 2018 article entitled; “Horrors that can’t be told’: Afghan women report Islamic State rapes” further highlighted the revulsions of Daesh in various parts of Afghanistan. Apart from violently killing the people, Daesh is involved in massive rapes in various parts of Afghanistan. The newspaper quoted evidences from Sheberghan, Afghanistan that, women folk of all ages are under threat of rapes by Daesh terrorists. According to locals, Daesh people would enter into any house and rape the women on gun point. In many cases, they would take the women in their camps and rape them for months and months. Reuters quotes a woman from a north-western Afghanistan, A mother of three was raped by the head of a local Islamic State (Daesh). Another woman (Ms X) “who escaped Darzab said fighters came to her house and took her 14 year-old sister to their commander, who didn’t marry her but he raped her and his soldiers forced themselves on her and even the head of the village who is in Daesh forced himself on my sister and raped her.
In many cases, Daesh people would bind a girl or woman and take her to their hideouts, rape them there for unlimited time. Daesh has a growing presence in Zarifa’s province of Jawzjan, on the border with Turkmenistan, exploiting smuggling routes and attracting both foreign fighters as well as unemployed locals.” Indeed, this terrorist outfit does not abide by any rules. Indeed, they are involved in all kind of inhuman activities in remote areas of Afghanistan. In Middle Eastern region, the rise of Islamic State (IS) had deepened the regional rivalry, the erosion of state authority, the breakup of social fabric with a widening sectarian fissure. This well organized, violent, extremist and sophisticated non –state actor is wreaking havoc with lives and property of the people. This is unfortunate that, in this uncertain environment, it is the common people who are suffering and losing their lives and properties, facing migration and abuse besides being persecuted under one or another label. Indeed, the rise of non-state actors like IS (Daesh) should not be treated as an isolated event. Such non-state actors provide excuse to major powers for furthering their agendas. In this regard, many western writers and scholars have written a lot. “Ghost Wars: the secret history of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Ladin, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001” has been written by Steve Coll. The book was formally published in February, 2004. The book relates to events and operations conducted by CIA in the pre and post environment of USSR invasion of Afghanistan.
An analysis of the book indicates that, amount of access to information granted to author and the contents of the book indicate that the book has been written with purpose of forwarding US and CIA centric Narratives, the agenda. Indeed, for maintaining its power at the global level, United Sates needs such narratives, and excuses in the form of non-state actors. US has been financing the Afghan Jihad when it suited it and left the region in haste for another round, the Post 9/11 Phase. In fact, CIA has been involved in creating, training, equipping and guiding Afghan Mujahideen for fighting against former USSR on the pretext of Jihad. Later, it used various Afghan war lords against the interests of each other thus resulting into a civil war. Even today, US officials are contact with Taliban. It is also said that, CIA established illicit economy in Afghanistan, based on drugs, extortions and target killings. The drug centered economy has put the whole world at risk.
According to analysts and people like Hamid Karazai, Daesh entry and expansion in Afghanistan is directly controlled by US. It has been a US strategy to exploit the vulnerability of countries (where its interests lies) through organizations, individuals and communities. Later, it would abandon them once no longer required, thus, putting them at risk. Like Afghanistan and many Middle Eastern countries, CIA is also involvement in internal affairs of Pakistan too. As a strategy, it is putting into conflict the masses in Pakistan on the basis of; religion, ethnicity, sub-nationalism and socio-economic deprivations. Over last one decade, these US and Indian strategies have been working well, to defame Military and people at war with the Government, thus creating chaos. As per Afghan officials, IS (Daesh) is quite active in various parts of the country. The rise and indeed rapid expansion of Daesh in Afghanistan has put everyone in Pakistan at quandary. There is a need for a social mobilization against the spread of this deadly terrorist’s network, before it penetrate into the state and society of Pakistan. Already it has claimed responsibility of many terrorist incidents in Pakistan. The military response against Daesh needs to go hand in hand with more concrete efforts to prevent radicalization by strengthening intelligence collaboration, combating terrorist financing, fostering a new media narrative and reinforcing cultural cooperation. Pakistani media, academia, society and the government must act in unison to slab any infiltration and expansion of Daesh in Pakistan.
— The writer, Professor of Politics and International Relations, is based in Islamabad.

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