New photos of secret ISIS training camps have emerged on the internet, suggesting that the terrorist organization is quickly growing. An ISIS presence in Afghanistan in particular is steadily increasing as the unrest in the Middle East slowly reaches a boiling point.
According to People’s Pundit Daily, new photos of an ISIS training camp stationed in the eastern Afghan province of Logar are cycling online, showing disturbing images of masked soldiers carrying rifles and signs. This Middle East province has been claimed by the Islamic State and named the “Khorasan Province” after a Taliban commander who was killed in battle three years ago. The camp itself is also named after a Taliban leader who died in 2012, Ustad Yasir.
The ISIS training camp images were released by a journalist named Saleem Mehsud, who posted the photos on his Twitter account. The photos were then published by the Long War Journal.
It’s unclear how Mehsud obtained the photos while in the Middle East, but the way the soldiers are posing in the images suggests the Islamic extremists intended for outsiders to see what they’re up to. This means the leak of the ISIS training camp photos in the Middle East is likely not a coincidence.
The photos could be designed to spread propaganda and awareness of the growing presence of ISIS in the Middle East and South Asia, according to India.
This particular ISIS training camp is run by the Sa’ad bin Abi Waqas Front, another name honoring a terrorist leader killed in battle–in this case an Al Qaeda leader killed in a 2011 United States airstrike in the Middle East.
Despite the chilling appearance of the armed and masked warriors, the vice president of tactical analysis for the global intelligence firm Stratfor, Scott Stewart, believes the featured soldiers may not be devoted ISIS jihadists, but rather disaffected former Taliban fighters. Stewart came to this conclusion based on the fact that the Middle East ISIS training camp is named after a man who is accused of betraying the Taliban.
“These are guys that likely spun off from the Taliban,” said Stewart.
The anonymous fighters could also be unaffiliated terrorists from somewhere in the Middle East who have chosen to align themselves with the extremist of the ISIS camp, according to Fox News.
For more stories on the Middle East, read about the abducted women who were recently freed from Boko Haram.
[Images courtesy of the Long War Journal]