Far from the militants’ self-proclaimed “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria, the name of ISIS has cropped up several times in jihadi circles in recent weeks in Pakistan and Afghanistan
Leaflets calling for support for ISIS were seen in parts of northwest Pakistan, and at least five Pakistani Taliban commanders and three lesser cadres from the Afghan Taliban have pledged their support.
Militant, security and official sources questioned by AFP in recent weeks say these are local, individual initiatives, and at this stage ISIS has not established a presence in the region.But the success of ISIS in the Middle East is unsettling many of those charged with keeping a lid on Afghanistan and Pakistan’s myriad extremist groups.
“ISIS is becoming the major inspiration force for both violent and non-violent religious groups in the region,” Pakistani security analyst Amir Rana told AFP.
Earlier this month Pakistan’s National Counter Terrorism Agency wrote to a dozen government agencies warning them to be on their guard against the ISIS group.
“The successes of ISIS play a very dangerous, inspirational role in Pakistan, where more than 200 organizations are operational,” the agency said.
Following the army offensive, the TTP, a coalition of disparate militant groups, has fragmented into rival factions over recent weeks, fueling rumors the movement could be overtaken by ISIS.