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Taliban and ISIS Continue Afghan Turf Wars

The Taliban in Afghanistan sent a direct message to Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Tuesday, warning the ISIS “Caliph” that his jihadi group should refrain from encroaching upon the Taliban’s insurgent operation.

The letter from the Taliban, which refers to itself as the Islamic Emirate, read, “Jihad against the Americans and their allies must be conducted under one flag and one leadership.”

“The Islamic Emirate does not consider the multiplicity of jihadi ranks beneficial either for jihad or for Muslims,” added the letter, which was signed by Taliban leader Mullah Mansoor, AFP reports.

The Taliban letter warned ISIS, “Your decisions taken from a distance will result in (the IS) losing support of religious scholars, mujahideen … and in order to defend its achievements the Islamic Emirate will be forced to react.”

Kabul-based analyst Ahmad Saeedi told AFP regarding the letter, “To their traditional backers, the Taliban are like an expired formula. The Taliban know this and increasingly fear being sidelined. This letter is a kind of reconciliation proposal to Daesh … telling them that they are on the same boat and they should not fight each other.”

The two sides have sometimes engaged in vicious battles throughout contested areas of Afghanistan, where ISIS’s popularity continues to rise.

Just last week, Islamic State militants beheaded ten Taliban jihadis in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar region.

The two sides announced declarations of war against each other in April.

In May, the Pakistani Taliban, an ally of the Afghan Taliban, released a 60-page memo describing why ISIS’s Caliphate should be considered illegitimate.

The Taliban has also seen a number of defections from its ranks. Many within the group continue to pledge support for ISIS, helping the caliphatist entity infiltrate Afghanistan.

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