ISIS is transmitting fatwas in Jalalabad, one of the biggest cities in Afghanistan, for the first time. According to the officials and local inhabitants, ISIS has been transmitting extremist fatwas for hours in the city, and it is the first time they are doing so.
As Achin district Governor Haji Ghalib reported to NBC News, the claimed “Voice of the Caliphate” has been preaching “lots of revolutionary propaganda and fatwas” for ISIS, and is calling on the ISIS followers to kill anyone that dares stand in the path of ISIS. This transmission of fatwas has begun since earlier this week.
“If something is not done, these fatwas will have very serious consequences,” he further added.
Since most of the Afghans do not possess televisions, radio is the nation’s most influential form of media to reach out to the mass. The Taliban, with its own units for communication, uses the airwaves to make important announcements and sometimes even to threaten its rivals. However, it has not yet managed to reach through to the urban centers of the country.
ISIS, which has by far seized strips of ground in Syria and Iraq, lately stepped up attacks on the security forces in Afghanistan in the province of Nangarhar. It is where Jalalabad is located.
Fighters linked to ISIS have also drawn the Taliban members who are unhappy with the Taliban leadership, and the groups have clashed at times. The transmission of ISIS into Jalalabad has frightened some who have escaped ongoing hostility between the conflicting militant groups.
Azizullah, who has been forced to leave his village and now lives in a camp in Jalalabad, said, “We heard about [ISIS] radio a few days ago and for the past two nights I have been listening to it.”
“It has become the talk of the camp. People are afraid, we have seen the brutality of ISIS and know very well how serious this is. If the government does not stop this, these fatwas will have a very bad effect on people’s minds — there are a lot of youngsters who will be attracted to them,” he added.
Afghan officials have said that the ISIS transmissions are originating from the Pakistani side of the border. However, this claim has been disowned by Pakistani officials on that side.
A senior Taliban commander also confirmed the broadcasts from ISIS. The commander for the Taliban, who have been fighting the government forces since they were knocked down by the U.S.-backed forces back in 2001, said that his fighters had also heard the broadcasts from ISIS, who are their bitter rivals. He also went on to complain that Taliban lacked the resources to compete with ISIS.
Speaking to NBC News on the condition of namelessness, he said, “We don’t have enough resources as compared to our enemies, but even then we are successful in our job and people listen to us.”
He added, “We have installed transmitters in different places but we used to change the location of the transmitters and radio stations from time to time for security reasons.”
In spite of the fact that ISIS is generally believed to have relatively few followers, ISIS has been penetrating into Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan and Pakistan lately, and clashing with their fighters, particularly in Nangarhar.
On December 7, ISIS even hit at the Taliban with a video condemning their leadership for deviating from the righteous Muslim path. The ISIS video was distributed by the official Telegram channel of ISIS.
The ISIS video came five days after news had been circulating of the Taliban’s recently appointed leader, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, and his severe injury in a shootout. The Taliban later released an audio, claimed to come from Mansour himself. However, rumors of his death persist and the Taliban leadership is allegedly hiding his death.
[Image via Elnahardanews]