Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, November 24th, 2017

The Peril of ISIL Continues

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The Peril of ISIL Continues

The self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which is losing its ground in Syria, will continue to menace the region. The defeat of ISIL group in Iraq and Syria is not its death knell since it claims many terrorist attacks in different parts of the world, especially in Afghanistan. The liberation of Raqqa, Syria, the ISIL’s final stronghold, has severely weakened the group as a military threat. But as its members slink off the battlefield to melt into local populations or infiltrate nations in Europe, Africa and around the world, they leave a region in ruins.
Over four gruesome years, ISIL swallowed up large areas of Iraq and Syria, taking control of oil fields and using beheadings, rapes, and other cruelties to terrorize populations. That is to say, they were involved in harsh and immoral practices, shed streams of blood, raped girls and women, and decapitated innocent civilians to satiate their wicked desire. The ISIL fighters, the bulk of whom was formed by mercenaries, valued their humanity nor international instruments. They sought to inflict casualties – mainly on ethnic minorities – and ruin cultural ancients and monuments.
The ISIL network recruited a large number men and women from around the world despite its harsh ideology and cruel practices. Russia is said to pay great sacrifices and a great number of individuals flocked to ISIL group from this land. Almost 3,500 Russians fight for ISIL, making Russia the largest source of recruits – ahead of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, the Soufan Center, a US-based think-tank, is cited as saying on October 24. But Russian President Vladimir Putin said in February that “up to 4,000” Russian nationals fight for ISIL. In June, he said that ISIL is “preparing plans to destabilize” ex-Soviet Central Asia and Russia’s southern regions.
Between January and July, 190 suspected fighters were sentenced to jail for “organization of or participation in an illegal armed group”.
ISIL declared war on Moscow and took responsibility for at least a dozen attacks, including the 2015 bombing of a passenger plane over the Sinai Peninsula that killed 224 mostly Russian tourists returning from Egypt. It became the largest air crash in Russia’s history, and Moscow stopped flights to Egypt altogether.
The human fatalities and destruction left by the ISIL group is a great stain on human history. People suffered severely as a result of ISIL’s radical ideology and inhuman practices. However, its defeat does not necessarily mean that people will be immune to its venom. Following its collapse, the ISIL loyalists have been splintered and gained foothold in many countries, including Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It is believed that ISIL loyalists will continue terrorist activities in the region and beyond. Iraq and Syria will bear the brunt of its militancy as before. For example, Afghanistan is still beset by militancy despite the downfall of the Taliban’s regime. The Taliban guerilla fighters carry out indiscriminate attacks against Afghan soldiers and civilians. As a result, Afghanistan is called a war-torn country and the defeat of Taliban could not stabilize the country. Iraq and Syria will be doomed to the same fate. Syria is likely to be more vulnerable than Iraq in light of continued conflict.
Although the ISIL group was dismantled, it will continue not only its terrorist activities but also spreading its ideology through social media and radio channel. Since a number of people simply fell for the bogus claim of ISIL, it will continue to fool more into joining their group. In short, ISIL is not able to operate in systematic way but individually or in line with other terrorist networks.
With the escalation in militancy and death toll, the ISIL militants will be a serious threat to the region if it is downplayed or deemed the end. To view Afghanistan, it has gained firm foothold and claim many terrorist attacks. ISIL loyalists is seeking to foment sectarian violence in the country and kill people on their religious and racial backgrounds the same in Iraq and Syria. Although Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ISIL’s Caliph, has lost its influence and will no more be able to organize its defeated men, ISIL’s splinter groups will continue their violent acts out of revenge and anger.
Political analysts believe that ISIL fighters will be planning massive attacks against countries in Asia and Europe. This is not impossible as ISIL lost everything. Now the countries will have to tighten their borders and continue their anti-terrorist campaigns so as to prevent from human fatalities.
Afghanistan was not immune to ISIL’s danger and the presence of the Taliban fighters facilitated ISIL loyalists to gain firm foothold in the country. To protect the nation and reduce civilian casualties, the government needs to intensify its attacks against all militant groups, mainly the Taliban and ISIL fighters. 

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily OutlookAfghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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