Afghanistan district Governor flees Taliban custody after being arrested for ties with Islamic State

Kabul [Afghanistan], March 29 (ANI): The Taliban's District Governor of Takhar province in Afghanistan who was arrested by the group on charges of cooperation with the Islamic State (Deash) has escaped, local media reported citing sources.

The Governor, Abdul Qadir was arrested on Saturday in the Khaja Ghar district and local sources confirmed his escape on Sunday. "Abdul Qadir, the #Taliban district governor for Dasht-e-Qala of Takhar province was arrested by the group on Saturday on charges of cooperation with the Deash from Khaja Ghar district of the province has been escaped on Sunday, local sources confirmed today," tweeted local media.

After the Taliban took over Afghanistan last August, the group has been facing a stiff challenge from the Islamic State.

The Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K), an off-shoot of Daesh, continues to grow unabated in Afghanistan with the reigning Taliban regime finding it difficult to counter the threat.

The Islamic State is a Sunni Muslim terrorist group. It considers Shias heretics and has previously claimed several attacks in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan.

The Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) took responsibility for a devastating attack at the Shia mosque of Koocha Risaldar in Peshawar on March 4 which left more than 60 people dead.

The Taliban claims that ISIS-K is not a threat and that once economic and administrative issues in Iraq are resolved, they will simply 'disappear'. However, in reality, the Taliban do not appear to be handling this threat so well, as ISIS-K carry out almost daily attacks against them, Alex Szokalski said writing in Policy Forum, Asia and the Pacific's platform for public policy debate, analysis, views, and discussion.

Notably, former members of the Afghan intelligence services and special forces who were trained by the United States and then forced out of work following the Taliban takeover are reportedly quick to join ISIS-K, providing the group with specialised capabilities they once lacked, Policy Forum further reported.

If ISIS-K continues to develop support in the Khorasan region whilst degrading Taliban control of Afghanistan, it is not inconceivable that they will have the capacity to begin rebuilding or even rebranding. They could once again pose a sizeable threat to national, regional, and international security, added Szokalski.