Reports: ISIS declares war on Taliban in Afghanistan

26 Jun 2017 | By Abheet Sethi
The ISIS-Taliban rivalry in Afghanistan

An ISIS commander in Afghanistan has reportedly declared war on Taliban, calling the latter "hypocrites and stooges of the unbelievers."

ISIS has accused Taliban militants of betraying Islam and said they should be killed and their property should be seized, according to Iran's Tasnim news agency.

The statement highlights the growing animosity between the two militant organizations as they compete for influence in Afghanistan.

In context: The ISIS-Taliban rivalry in Afghanistan

ISIS in AfghanistanHow ISIS emerged in Afghanistan

ISIS first emerged in Afghanistan in 2015 and its popularity is growing as it pays more than Taliban.

A US official said there are around 600 to 800 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan.

ISIS is believed to have has emerged from disgruntled former members of Taliban and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

The Taliban fiercely opposes ISIS and has clashed with it.

BackgroundWhy ISIS and Taliban are fighting in Afghanistan

Both ISIS and Taliban are trying to oust Afghanistan's US-backed government and impose their fundamentalist version of Islamic law.

However, both militant organizations remain bitterly divided over leaderships and tactics.

The Taliban is more of an Afghanistan-specific nationalistic insurgency, while ISIS hopes to establish a larger caliphate encompassing several countries.

The differences have led to violent clashes between both sides.

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The attack left 76 Taliban fighters and 15 ISIS militants dead.

Jawzjan's governor Mohammad Reza Ghafori said ISIS had captured two districts from Taliban.

The fighting that reportedly took place in a remote area didn't lead to any civilian casualties.

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The Taliban said its forces have repelled ISIS militants from some territory it had overrun.

26 Jun 2017Reports: ISIS declares war on Taliban in Afghanistan

What the ISIS-Taliban turf war means for Afghanistan

The worsening ISIS-Taliban conflict complicates Afghanistan's already complex security mix. The conflict increases possibility of innocent civilians being caught in the crossfire. It also represents another component that may hinder the long-term quest for an everlasting peace agreement between the Afghan government and insurgents.