Militant propaganda websites and social media accounts in South Asia are promoting Islamic State at the expense of Al-Qaeda, analysts said on Friday, highlighting the rivalry between the two global militant groups.
Disaffected Taliban factions have started to look toward Daesh, impressed by its rapid capture of territory in Syria and Iraq, though there is no evidence it is providing substantial material support to the Taliban.
The popularity of Daesh comes at the expense of Al-Qaeda, whose deep pockets and foreign fighters once readily attracted local commanders. But Al-Qaeda has been decimated by drone strikes and its traditional influence severely eroded.
“The Taleban and Al-Qaeda have almost been written out of the picture,” said Omar Hamid, the head of Asia analysis at IHS Country Risk. “Most of these sites have converted their content to an Daesh platform.”
So far the IS social media campaign has not been matched by material support to South Asian groups such as the Taliban, he said, but it has helped gather dissatisfied splinter groups around Daesh.
A few Afghan commanders have sworn allegiance to Daesh, saying they oppose peace talks between the government and Taliban. Others have questioned whether reclusive one-eyed Taliban leader Mullah Omar, who has close ties to Al-Qaeda, is alive.
In Pakistan, home to a separate but allied Taliban insurgency, the leadership of the Taliban is hotly disputed. Some factions there also swore allegiance to Daesh, cementing their vow by beheading a soldier and posting the video online.(Arab News)