Global RiskNews Briefs

Left Behind After U.S. Withdrawal, Some Former Afghan Spies and Soldiers Turn to Islamic State

According to Taliban leaders, former Afghan republic security officials, and those close to the individuals, some former members of Afghanistan’s US-trained intelligence service and elite military units have enlisted in the Islamic State. After being abandoned in the country and hunted by the Taliban, they have joined the only force challenging the new country’s rulers. Although the number of defectors joining the terrorist group is relatively small, it continues to steadily grow. These individuals are bringing to the Islamic State critical expertise in intelligence gathering and warfare techniques and could potentially strengthen the Islamic State’s capabilities.

A former Afghan national army officer who was responsible for commanding the military’s weapons and ammunition depot in Gardez joined the Islamic State Khorasan Province, according to friends and family. The individual was killed just a week ago in a clash between Islamic State and Taliban fighters. Another former officer stated that many of his former colleagues joined the terrorist organization after the Taliban searched their homes and issued threats.

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