A “relatively small, but growing” number of former members of Afghanistan’s defense and security units have turned to the Islamic State after being left behind by the U.S. forces who trained them, The Wall Street Journal reports. The defectors have turned to ISIS, a former head of Afghanistan’s spy agency told the Journal, because “for the time being, ISIS is the only other armed group” in the country.
ISIS is also possibly the only organization in the country that can protect the remaining members of the disbanded security forces from the Taliban, which is actively hunting the former government’s allies and employees, the Journal reports. The terrorist group is also offering new recruits “significant amounts of cash,” according to the Journal. In exchange, the defectors can offer ISIS U.S.-backed intelligence-gathering and warfare techniques, which may bolster its chances of challenging the Taliban.
But “we are not faced with a threat nor are we worried about them,” a senior Taliban commander, Mawlawi Zubair, told the Journal. “There is no need, not even a tiny need, for us to seek assistance from anyone against ISIS.” Zubair said former members of Afghan security forces were “100 percent” involved in certain Islamic State strikes against the Taliban.