If Islamic State can prove a "true caliphate", Taliban fighters will join

Sarah Spickernell
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IS is currently trying to establish a religious state in the region (Source: Getty)
Fighters from a militant Islamic group in Afghanistan have said they would consider joining forces with the Islamic State (IS).
The Hezb-e-Islami group is allied to the Taliban, and its commander Mirwais told the BBC that if IS can prove a true Islamic caliphate, they would link up with it.
Referring to IS by its Arabic acronym Daish, he said: "We know Daish and we have links with some Daish members. We are waiting to see if they meet the requirements for an Islamic caliphate.
"If we find they do, we are sure that our leadership will announce their allegiance to them. They are great mujahideen. We pray for them, and if we don't see a problem in the way they operate, we will join them."
Hezb-e-Islami is notorious for its brutality, to the extent its activities have alienated even the Taliban themselves in the past.
Under current plans, Nato will have withdrawn all its forces from Afghanistan by the end of the year. But Mirwais said the group would continue to fight the Afghan government.
"Our struggle was mainly against the Americans, and thank God they were forced to run away. But we will continue to fight until we establish an Islamic state," he said.
If Taliban and IS forces do link up, this could lead to serious consequences. The Taliban is currently fighting government forces at 14 different front lines across Afghanistan, and if combined with IS the threat posed by them throughout the region would be significantly increased.
This would be exacerbated by the current instability in Afghanistan following a disputed presidential election in June. There is currently no confirmed winner, and an audit of eight million votes is now taking place.
Abdullah Abdullah, one of the election candidates, said today he will back out of the election process entirely unless changes are made to make the auditing process fairer.
"We will give one day to the international community to review and assure that the vote auditing and the political negotiations are moving forward properly. ... If our demands are not met and the auditing is not conducted legitimately and the political talks without honesty, then we will withdraw from both processes," his spokesman said.

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