The Reasons of the Presence of ISIS in Afghanistan Based on William Bullitt Domino Theory

Document Type : Original Article


1 MA of Political Sciences, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of Political Sciences, Imam Hossein University, Tehran, Iran

3 PhD Student of Communication Sciences, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran


Afghanistan has always conceived significant political and geopolitical challenges throughout history. With the beginning of the Syrian crisis and the formation of ISIS, Mullah Abdul-Rauf Khadem was the first commander who declared allegiance to Baghdadi. After the 9th June, 2014 when Bagdadi called himself Muslims Caliphate and asked all them to oath allegiance to him, Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda leader, with the issuance of statement started to condemn the actions of ISIS in the Muslim world on the one hand, and made extensive efforts to strengthen the ideological and military grounds of his own in Afghanistan and other Islamic countries like al-Nusra on the other hand. In this research, we try to investigate similarities and differences the terrorist groups of Taliban and ISIS and also evaluate the future of ISIS presence in Afghanistan considering Taliban as well as regional powers such as Iran, Russia, and China.
The hypothesis of the study is tested in a descriptive- analytical way and data are collected with library and internet methods.
The most important reasons and goals for the presence of Islamic State in Afghanistan can be seen in the following cases:
1. Creating diversity on battlefields, reducing pressures on the Takfirist group in Syria and Iraq, power recruitment, communicating and if possible cooperating with other Terrorist groups, extending the borders of Islamic caliphate claimed by ISIS in central Asia, being a suitable infrastructure to cultivate narcotics and earn huge revenue.
2. The reasons of the allegiance of some Taliban commanders with ISIS
3. The growing tensions between Taliban leaders and ideas scattering after the death of Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar, ISIS more powerful economy than Taliban, swearing allegiance of other extremists from Africa such as Boko Haram with ISIS and the dream of Khorasan province to come to realize.
4. Explaining the similarities between ISIS and Taliban.
5. Both groups have emerged when the national-regional crises were exacerbated, both of them attempt to define and identify their geographical boundaries, another important similarity between ISIS and Taliban is fighting to central government and Shiite in the area, instrumental use of Islam is the interface of two groups, use of force and violence, terror and also having a tacit support from a number of regional and trans-regional powers.
6. Differences between ISIS and Taliban
7. Difference in nation- State, in universality, in forces constituted, in economy and financing, and difference in religion.
8. Factors leading to ISIS presence in Afghanistan (facilitating factors)
9. Diversity in the Taliban's internal structure, lacking attractive of Taliban ideology, the field conditions in Iraq and Syria, the confused situation of internal politics in Afghanistan, the geopolitics of Afghanistan and its importance for ISIS.
Feedback of ISIS presence in Afghanistan on regional politics of China, Russia and Iran:
- China and the crisis of the Islamic State in Afghanistan
- The fear of Chinese from ISIS has caused increasing security and defense cooperation, strong diplomatic relations and economic collaboration between China and Afghanistan, further support of Chinese government to Afghan security forces and increasing China's military helps to this country.
- Russia approach toward the Islamic State in Afghanistan
- Islamic State will be regarded as a threatening factor against Russia and its interests in Central Asia by two ways.
- First, through the establishment of military units specific for citizens of Central Asia and Caucasus and making them to come to civil war in Iraq and Syria and getting military experiences.
- Second, through make contact with extremists operating in Fergana valley and the north of Afghanistan.
- Security implications arising from the presence of ISIS in Afghanistan in terms of national security and Iran’s interests:
1. The risk of anti-Shiite sectarianism;
2. Security threat to Iran’s borders in the east;
3. Security conflicts between countries in the region.
The Islamic State try to increase its influence in countries of Central Asia and Iran through Afghanistan. Also, ISIS try to dominate Afghanistan and some experts have warned that if the Afghan government does not seriously attempt to destroy ISIS completely, the terrorist actions maybe more dangerous and bloodier in Afghanistan than Syria and Iraq. Furthermore, a number of Taliban commanders have joined to ISIS and now operate under the black flags. Therefore, the necessary approaches must be applied to prevent the influence of Islamic State in Afghanistan by the regional powers such as Iran, Russia, China as well as Taliban in Afghanistan. The first approach will be security and military supports to central government in Afghanistan against ISIS.


Volume 13, Issue 45
March 2017
Pages 173-195
  • Receive Date: 16 January 2017
  • Revise Date: 06 February 2017
  • Accept Date: 04 March 2017
  • First Publish Date: 21 March 2017