Why is the Islamic State attacking Afghans

IS and Taliban - Power Struggle in Afghanistan: Terrorists Against Terrorists

While IS is losing ground in its core area of ​​Northern Iraq and Syria, it is creating new areas of influence and sources of income, for example in crumbling Libya, Yemen or Afghanistan.

Glossary - political Islam

Reports of an IS presence in Afghanistan first surfaced earlier this year in the southern Helmand province. In the summer, IS extremists also appeared in Nangarhar, where they embroiled the Taliban in fighting on the border. According to US General John Campbell, the commander of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, four districts fell to IS.

The government has long since lost power over the southern Afghan province of Helmand - and the terrorists of IS and the Taliban are competing for control. According to the local administration, the Taliban have now taken over two thirds of the province.

Since the weekend, the Islamist militiamen have been moving into Sangin, Helmand's second largest city. The Taliban stormed government buildings and the bazaar. The security forces have withdrawn to their bases after heavy losses. Provincial officials report at least 90 deaths in the city of 15,000.

According to the Times and the Wall Street Journal, the British and US military have now relocated special forces to Sangin. The place is of great strategic importance: the most important road that connects Kabul with Helmand's provincial capital Lashkar Gah runs through the town.

Sangin is also a center for opium production. Should the Taliban conquer the place permanently, they could secure an important source of income again - and would be a tougher opponent for the IS than the Afghan troops.

In an interview with the AP news agency, Campbell said that IS supporters in Afghanistan are now trying to consolidate their ties to the self-proclaimed “caliphate” in the areas conquered by IS in Syria and Iraq.