Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

ISIL Remains a Serious Threat

Terrorist groups seek to extend their reach despite being combated by the world. The fear of terrorism looms large. With the emergence of the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) which is losing its territory in Iraq, terrorism posed stronger threat to the world. Spain, a staunch NATO ally, carved out a reputation as some of Europe’s most dogged counterterrorism operators and was immune to terrorist attack within a decade, but was attacked violently on Thursday when a van shook Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s famous pedestrian boulevard.
Political pundits believe that despite the fact that the ISIL group is losing ground in Iraq, it will seek safe haven in other parts of the world, including Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Currently, Tal Afar, a northern part of Iraq, is most likely to be the last pockets of ISIL-held territory in Iraq, after victory was declared in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city. A US-led coalition is reportedly providing air support to the Iraqi troops. In recent days, it has been carrying out dozens of air strikes on Tal Afar, targeting weapons depots and command centers.
But to slow down the battle, the ISIL will target combatants and non-combatants indiscriminately and “use improvised bombs and use civilians as hostages”. The ISIL’s fundamental ideology lets it violate the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and engage in war crime. Therefore, a large number of innocent civilians were killed in cold blood and their rights and dignity were violated in the worst possible way.  
There is no doubt that the Iraqi forces will win the war in Tal Afar, but it will not reduce the threat of terrorism. For instance, Retired US General Mark Kimmitt said that while retaking Tal Afar would be an “important milestone”, it would not mean final days for ISIL.
Little wonder, ISIL seeks to extend its terrorist activities around the world, mainly Afghanistan. Within the last two years, insurgency mounted in Afghanistan as some members of the Taliban and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) pledged allegiance to ISIL in the country. Increasing its attack substantially, the ISIL group stokes sectarian violence in Afghanistan through targeting Shiite ethnic minority. In its latest attack on a village in the northern province of Sar-e Pul, described as a war crime by the Afghan president Muhammad Ashraf Ghani, government officials said ISIL joined forces with the Taliban in the brutal killing of more than 50 civilians.
Afghan nation believed earlier that the ideology of the Taliban and ISIL is in serious conflict which will remain a bone of contention between the two groups. However, their joint attack on Sar-e-Pul proved the opposite. It was said that “there are no strict ideological distinctions between them so they build bridges when it helps them both”. Indeed, the Taliban facilitated the ISIL to gain firm foothold in the country.
Similarly, the Taliban have intensified their attacks more than ever before. The same as ISIL, they target soldiers and civilians carrying out large-scale suicide bombings in public places. As a result of unmitigated insurgency, the graph of civilian casualties increased dramatically and the individuals’ right to life is violated with impunity. In short, Afghan nation suffers severely in the wake of terrorism.
On the other hand, an effective counterinsurgency mechanism yet to be adopted. As the war on terror did not bear the desired result in Afghanistan, Donald Trump’s administration seeks to adopt a counterterrorism strategy to win the war in Afghanistan. However, the discussion still continues over an effective strategy.
It is believed that warring factions will not hold negotiation – this fact has been proved as Afghan officials urged the Taliban outfit constantly to stop war and violence and come to negotiating table. With the infiltration of ISIL to the Taliban, the peace process is most likely to come to an unbreakable stalemate. Hence, military approach remains the only option to reduce militancy in the country.
The world must not downplay the seriousness of terrorism. Further delay for adopting an effective mechanism will provide further chance for warring parties to inflict more casualties upon one nation or another. It goes without saying that terrorism is the most challenging issue for the world. It is the ripe time for all human societies to bury the differences and combat terrorism with all its roots and factors to protect the rights and freedoms of mankind and bring sustainable peace and stability for the entire nation. The world will have to make them stop spilling streams of blood every day in every nook and cranny. The flagrant violation of human rights by terrorist networks is highly outrageous and must come to an end as soon as possible.