The reported emergence of a new terror group in Afghanistan, calling itself the “Islamic Commandos,” indicates that the country remains a safe haven for terrorist organizations.
American troops invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 to prevent terrorist groups, namely al-Qaeda, from using the war-torn country as a base for their operations.
Since then, the U.S. has spent billions of taxpayer dollars and lost at least 2,217 American lives on that effort.
Less than one year after President Obama declared an end to the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan, Khaama Press reports that Afghan officials are now saying the Islamic Commandos have begun operating in their areas.
The group, which has at least 1,000 members, has begun to function in northern and southern Afghanistan—particularly in the northern provinces of Badakhshan, Kunduz, and Faryab; and the southern Zabul, Urozgan, and Kandahar provinces. This is according to Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, deputy governor of Ghazni province in eastern Afghanistan, who reportedly told Azadi Radio on Sunday, adding that the group is also operating in his province.
“He said [the] majority of this group is currently fighting with security forces in northern Afghanistan,” adds Khaama Press.
The deputy governor pointed out that the group broke away from the Taliban, which it now considers a rival faction.
It is unknown what brought about the division that led to the formation of the Islamic Commandos, notes Heavy.com.
A report from the Afghan Bokhdi News Agency, written in Dari, quotes Ahmadi as saying that the Islamic Commandos are linked to al-Qaeda and have entered Afghanistan from Pakistan’s restive North Waziristan tribal region located along the Afghan border, according to an English translation provided by BBC.
Breitbart News was unable to independently confirm whether or not the new terrorist group has ties to al-Qaeda. It is unclear whether or not there is a relationship between the Islamic Commandos, the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), and al-Qaeda.
The Taliban and al-Qaeda share historic ties. Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri pledged allegiance to the new Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansour, who took over the group after Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar was reported dead. Mansour has accepted the pledge.
The Taliban and the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) are currently fighting a turf war in Afghanistan.
There are already at least fifteen terrorist organizations operating in the Afghan and Pakistan region, SFGate reports. The Islamic Commandos are the newest terrorist group in Afghanistan.
U.S. and international troops are already dealing with the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the entry of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), which has appeared in parts of the country, carrying out brutal executions.
Except for a small Kabul-based embassy presence, the U.S. is expected to withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016, President Obama has said.
Obama, at the request of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, already slowed down the withdrawal pace of American forces, extending the presence of nearly 10,000 troops until the end of this year.
In 2014, the U.S. president said that by the end of 2015, America would draw down its military presence to about half of the current level.
President Obama has reportedly asked U.S. Gen. John F. Campbell, the top commander of American and international forces in Afghanistan, to reassess the situation on the ground after the 2015 fighting season, the first with the Afghan forces supposedly in the lead.
Earlier this month, The Daily Mirror reported that British special forces (SAS, SBS) were deployed back to Afghanistan to take on both ISIS and the Taliban.
“Just a year after David Cameron said the war was over, members of the SAS and SBS along with US special forces are taking part in military operations almost every night as the insurgent forces close in on the capital Kabul,” noted the article.
“British troops are supposed to be just advisers to the Afghanistan special forces, who they have spent years training,” it added. “But senior defence sources say that in reality the troops are planning and leading counter-terrorist strike operations.”
U.S. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Afghan president have discussed the possibility of forming a ten-year regional counterterrorism effort against ISIS.