Small Wars Journal

The Terrorists or the Insurgents: The Dilemma in Afghanistan

The Terrorists or the Insurgents: The Dilemma in Afghanistan by Shazar Shafqat - The Hill

Despite U.S. officials now talking directly with the Taliban and optimistic news coverage that it could mean an end to the 17-year war, all is not well in Afghanistan. The Taliban are not the only force that need to be neutralized in Afghanistan. There are the insurgents, the Taliban, and then there are the terrorists: the Islamic State.

You go after the terrorists, and the insurgents get off the hook. You target the insurgents, and the terrorists get the breathing space they need to regroup and launch deadly offensives. The insurgents, after all, are also fighting the terrorists (many of whom are disaffected insurgents). Going after both at the same time appears so grueling, such a quagmire, you want to avoid it.  This has been a dilemma the Afghan government and the U.S. forces have struggled to navigate.

The predicament has let the Islamic State rear its ugly head again in Afghanistan. On Tuesday, the terrorist group attacked a refugee camp in Jalalabad that killed at least 15 people. Has ISIS gained lost momentum in Afghanistan, or did the group never lose its fighting abilities in the first place? …

Read on.