UK fighters driven out of the Iraq and Syria by the defeat of ISIS’s caliphate could be making their way to Afghanistan to wage their holy war in the mountainous country.
French and Algerian fighters have already joined the ranks of the Islamic State group in northern Afghanistan where the militants have established new bases.
It is the first time the presence of French ISIS fighters has been recorded in Afghanistan and comes as analysts suggested foreigners including Brits may be heading for the war-torn country.
And the group has begun releasing increasing amounts propaganda pictures on social media laying bare extreme savagery with brutal executions on par with atrocities carried out in the Middle East.
Clips this week showed fighters building explosive devices that can be detonated via mobile phones.
A number of Algerian and French nationals entered the largely ISIS-controlled district of Darzab in northern Jowzjan province in November, said district governor Baaz Mohammad Dawar.
At least two women were among the arrivals, who were travelling with a translator from Tajikistan as well as Chechens and Uzbeks, Dawar added.
European and Afghan security sources in Kabul confirmed Dawar’s claim that French citizens were among the fighters Three of the Algerians seen in Darzab are believed to have been in Syria and Iraq, Dawar said, suggesting link Islamic State’s Khorasan Province group – or IS-K.
When it first emerged in 2015, IS-K overran large parts of eastern Nangarhar and Kunar provinces.
The jihadists have since spread north, including in Jowzjan on the border with Uzbekistan, and carried out multiple devastating attacks in the capital Kabul, according to Mohammad Raza Ghafoori, the Jowzjan provincial governor’s spokesman.
Citing reports he said about 50 children, some as young as 10, have also been recruited by the fighters.
Darzab residents told AFP that roughly 200 foreigners had set up camp just a few hundred yards from the village of Bibi Mariam.
One local man who gave his name as Hajji said the fighters were of several nationalities, including French, and were tall, aged in their late 20s, and dressed in military clothing.
“They ride their motorbikes, go to the border and come back, but they talk to nobody,” he said.
Hashar, a former district village chief, said some were training others to use suicide bombs and lay mines.
“They are… bringing misery to normal people,” he told AFP, as other villagers said many residents had fled the area.
French-speaking Caucasian men and women had also been seen training ISIS fighters in Darzab.
Locals along with district governor Dawar warned the fighters were also exploiting natural resources, such as precious stones and metals.
One of the security sources said that two of the French had been nicknamed “The Engineers” and appeared to be organising some sort of extraction, “but we do not know what they are looking for”.
Now it is feared ISIS, including British volunteers, may be planning to base themselves in the war ravaged country.
Middle East analyst Kyle Orton, from the Henry Jackson Society, told Sun Online: “It is certainly possible that British jihadists in the ranks of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq have made their way to Afghanistan.
“There has long been concern among Western security services that with the collapse of the caliphate there would be a dispersal of the foreign fighters, to their native countries, where they would be a domestic terror threat, and around the world to other jihadi theatres.”
But he said with no concrete evidence to pinpoint exact whereabouts there was a serious question about where all of the Islamic State foreign fighters are?
“The indications as Raqqa and Deir Ezzor have fallen are that the number of Islamic State foreign fighters was overstated,” he added.
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