As the US and Western militaries are busy in Kabul evacuating thousands of their citizens and Afghanis and their families, who worked with them, there was this looming threat of an ISIS or ISIL attack on the airport targeting evacuation process and Taliban security forces. The Taliban are now in complete control of the capital Kabul whom ISIS considers an enemy. Today there was a bombing near the airport where scores were killed. The Taliban said that attack took place in an area under US security and blamed them for negligence while US blamed ISIS for the attack. The Taliban also told Russian media that they had already warned US and NATO of an imminent attack. But the question is what is the background of ISIS, its entry into Afghanistan and how did they become sworn enemies of the Taliban?
ISIS is totally different from Taliban. They are more of a shadowy organization that suddenly emerged from Iraq and established their state on the border region of Iraq & Syria, which only lasted less than a year. ISIS carries a global ambition of establishing a Khilafat or Caliphate and demands that all Muslims around the world should pledge allegiance to its ideology. Its a bit hasty, irrational approach that they carry. How can you demand something from the entire Muslim world when you yourself are not established, when you yourself are at this time operating from underground cells, and your presence is only felt when you claim bombings which are also mostly targeting innocent Muslims? After entering Afghanistan they demanded Taliban’s allegiance but Taliban refused because they are local mujahideen who were fighting to liberate their country while these foreign scums came to interfere in their business. They were becoming a sort of an obstacle for Taliban to achieve their mission. But Allah ﷻ has finally helped the Taliban and they have today managed to win the entire Afghanistan in a miraculous victory and defeat all their opponents including ISIS.
Its important to note the big difference between deviants like ISIS and the mujahideen like Taliban. Taliban were always a local Afghan resistance movement that was started with the aim to bring peace to the lawlessness and chaos that was spread in the country as a result of Soviet withdrawal and no central government. Their aim was to implement Islamic law/Shariah and they did a pretty good job once they were able to establish their authority over 90% of the country from 1996–2001. They eliminated poppy growth within their own territory which impacted the global illegal drug business. They renamed their country as Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. But the emirate never aimed to spread their rule over entire Muslim world or around the globe, neither did they ever demand allegiance from all Muslims. However, after they were successful in establishing peace and security in late 90s, 9/11 happened and they were blamed for it. US and the West declared them as a terrorist organization, banned them and attacked them.
ISIS - The Modern Day Khawarij Prophesied by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
قُلۡ هَلۡ نُنَبِّئُكُم بِٱلۡأَخۡسَرِينَ أَعۡمَٰلًا
ٱلَّذِينَ ضَلَّ سَعۡيُهُمۡ فِي ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَهُمۡ يَحۡسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمۡ يُحۡسِنُونَ صُنۡعًا
Say: "Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds. Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds."
(Al Quran 18:103 - 104)
Called ISIS - Islamic State of Iraq & Syria or Daesh (in Arabic), is a major militant threat that appeared when large protests and uprisings gripped the Middle Eastern and North African region in 2011. They appeared on the border region of Iraq and Syria with the aim to establish a Khilafah (Caliphate) under the leadership of a mysterious figure called Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi,. He claimed himself as the Khalifa (Caliph) of all Muslims, vowed to establish a Khilafah in the entire world and demanded everyone's allegiance. His claims received immediate back lash from worldwide Islamic scholars especially when he and his army justified and indulged in the killings of innocent people in Iraq, Syria and other parts of the Muslim world, declaring those acts legal according to Islam.
Many Islamic scholars, foremost Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, very much likened them to the historical Khawarij, a group of dissenters in early Islam who interpreted the Quran according to their own wishes and declared that all Muslims who did not follow their interpretation have become disbelievers (kafirs) and apostates (murtad) which allows the spilling of their blood as legal. The khawarij indulged in assassination attempts and rebelled against the authority of Hazrat Ali (r.a), the fourth rightly guided successor of the Prophet ﷺ, and also Amir Muawiya, then governor of Syria, similar to the assassinations and suicide bombing tactics of Daesh against today's ruling authorities. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ prophesied their appearance after him when pointing to a man who disobeyed his authority: "There will arise a people from among the progeny of this man who will recite the Qur'aan, but it will not go beyond their throats; they will pass through the religion as an arrow passes through its target." (al-Bukhari and Muslim) And he also informed us “They will kill the Muslims and leave the pagans. If I were to be present when they appear, I would kill them as the killing of the nation of Ad.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari) Another unique characteristic of their that Prophet ﷺ informed us is that: "... if you compare your prayers with their prayers and your fasting with their fasting, you will look down upon your prayer and fasting, in comparison to theirs...." (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) Initially these people were part of the Shia (group) of Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s) when he was the Khalifa. About 12000 of them decided to leave his army after Battle of Siffin when Ali made a truce with Muawiya ending the battle. They declared Ali's decision wrong, declared him and Muawiya both as disbelievers and rebelling against them was legal. They deviated due to their extreme interpretation of Islam.
Thus, the Prophet ﷺ explained to us that these people will outwardly display extreme piety through their worship but in reality Islam will never reach their hearts. They will misinterpret the verses of Quran and those that apply towards the disbelievers they will apply them to the believers and declare spilling of their blood as legal. Their sign is that they will primarily kill and declare war on Muslims. Such characteristics were found in the Khawarij of the past and those that have appeared in our times like Daesh and its affiliates in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan. The Prophet ﷺ went further and even prophesied their appearance in the end of times and their fighting on behalf of dajjal, the anti-Christ: "... They will not cease to appear until the last of them comes with Al-Masih Ad-Dajjal. So when you meet them, then kill them, they are the worst of created beings." (Sunan An Nisai) After defeating the historical khawarij group at the battle of Nahrawan, Ali (r.a) reiterated the above saying of the Prophet ﷺ when someone said: “Praise be to Allah Who has brought them (khawarij) down and relieved us from them.” Ali (r.a) replied: “Verily, by the One in Whose hand is my soul, some of them are still in the loins of men and they have not been born yet, and the last of them will fight on the side of the Antichrist.”
What's very important to note here is that Daesh appeared from Iraq just as historical khawarij also appeared from Iraq, rebelled against the authorities and spilled much innocent blood for their deviated cause. Daesh had no existence before US invasion of Iraq in 2003. In fact, most of the its leaders, 17 of the 25 most important ones, spent time in US run Iraqi prisons between 2004 and 2011, according to the Baghdad based analyst Hisham al-Hashimi. Some were transferred from American custody to Iraqi prisons, where a series of jailbreaks a decade ago allowed many senior leaders to escape and rejoin the ranks that made up the Daesh military hierachy.
The Daesh Factor in Afghanistan
After the so-called Arab spring of 2011 ISIS under the acronym of ISIS-Khurasaan or Daesh Khurasaan started making inroads into Afghanistan with the aim to form their base and spread its tentacles in the region. The US backed Afghan govt failed to check the activities and movements of Daesh and its affiliates. Known for its corruption and weak governance, the Afghan govt even lost most of its territory (about 50%) to the Taliban after a decade of US invasion. While holding authority over half of the country it was the Taliban that proved much stronger in governance and providing justice, and even eliminating Daesh from its own territories, which made the regional states including Iran, Russia and China to rethink their Afghan policy. They decided to increase diplomatic relations with Taliban instead of the weak and corrupt US backed Kabul government. In the last 2 years even US admitted Taliban's success in eliminating Daesh's presence from several areas of Afghanistan. Last year a U.S. counterterrorism official told VOA “The Taliban’s campaign against ISIS-Khorasan in Kunar province is consistent with Taliban public statements to rout the group from Afghanistan. ISIS-Khorasan has continued to face pressure from the Taliban in Kunar province this year,” This was reported after statement from Taliban that “The entire province of Kunar was cleared of Daesh criminals and the people were rescued through this victory,” VOA also reported in 2019 that U.S. Central Command’s General Kenneth McKenzie admitted that Taliban efforts against IS-Khorasan were proven effective: "We've watched the Taliban compress and crush ISIS’s presence on the ground in southern Nangarhar province. That's some of the worst terrain in the world. It was a bloody mess, but they did it."
As the US and its allies complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of August there is a sudden barrage of propaganda push by Western corporate media that somehow Afghanistan is going to become a hotbed of groups like Daesh and its activities. The propaganda is actually aimed at Taliban, overlooking the fact that they eliminated Daesh bases from several areas as well as their commitments with US in Qatar to keep the country safe from such groups, and separately have also made commitments with Russia and China to maintain peace and security in the region. Daesh defeats at the hands of Taliban confirms for us a couple of things. First, that Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is in a better position to maintain the security of this region as opposed to corrupt democratic governments that failed and in some instances were even deliberately involved in the unfolding insecurity for the sake of political benefit. Such as the afghan government’s inability to defeat Daesh may have stemmed from the fact that they could use the group's presence to curtail the power of Taliban who faced attacks from Kabul government and Daesh forces simultaneously. This is the reason why we notice that countries like Russia and China, Iran, Pakistan and Central Asian states like Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, have decided to accept Taliban as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan because of their strength and ability to eliminate terrorist threats and maintain peace and security of the region.
 Isis: the inside story, by Martin Chulov, Thurs 11 Dec, 2015, The Guardian
 US Admits Taliban Offensive Is Whittling IS's Grip on Afghanistan, by Jeff Seldin, VOA, March 20, 2020, https://www.voanews.com/south-central-asia/us-admits-taliban-offensive-whittling-iss-grip-afghanistan
 Islamic State Staggers in Afghanistan, but Survives, by Jeff Seldin, VOA, November 21, 2019, https://www.voanews.com/south-central-asia/islamic-state-staggers-afghanistan-survives
The tragedy of Karbala is observed in many parts of the Muslim world every year on the 10th of Muharram. The sorrowful event took place in 681 CE/61 AH. Every year Muslims commemorate the event by remembering the sacrifices of the Prophet's Ahl al-bayt (family), where his grandson Hussain ibn Ali (r.a) and his children remained steadfast in the face of oppression and laid down their lives but refused to submit to the army of Yazid. What led towards this tragic event was Hussain's challenge to Yazid's illegitimate authority. Yazid son of Amir Muawiyah succeeded his father to the caliph's seat initiating an era of family rulership in Islam, a dynasty. This was a break away from traditional setup of appointing Caliphs through consensus after Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. It caused a rebellion in certain parts of the Muslim world especially Hijaz and Iraq when famous persons and prophet’s companions like Abdullah ibn Zubayr (r.a) and Hussain ibn Ali (r.a) rose to challenge Yazid. However, the rebellions were suppressed, and both were martyred. But what made Hussain’s martyrdom historical and sacred, was him being the Prophet’s beloved grandson, his family and his descendant. Moreover, the martyrdom of Prophet’s family happened on the holy day of Ashura (10th Muharram) whose sanctity is associated with many events in humankind’s religious history such as: Allah ﷻ created the creation on this day, Hazrath Ibrahim (alaihi salaam) was born, Allah ﷻ saved him from the furnace on this day, Pharaoh was drowned, Allah ﷻ forgave the transgression Adam (alaihi salaam), Isa (alaihi salaam) was born on this day and the day of Reckoning will occur on this day.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had predicted the types of rulership that would succeed him including the hereditary monarchial rule which started with Yazid. The Prophet ﷺ said “The period of Prophethood will remain among you so long as Allah wills, then He shall cause it to end. After that, there will be Khilafah among you on the pattern of Prophethood, and this will last as long as Allah wills, and then He shall cause it to end. After that, there will be a reign of oppressive monarchy, and this will also last as long as Allah wills, and then He shall cause it to end. After that there will be a period of enslavement, and this will last as long as Allah wills, then He shall cause it to end. Finally, there will again be Khilafah on the pattern of Prophethood.” (Musnad Ahmad) Prophethood ended with Prophet Muhammad’s death and "khilafah on the pattern of Prophethood" initiated with his first successor Abu Bakr (r.a). This period ended with the fourth successor Ali ibn Abi Talib (r.a), and in Islam this period is known as Rightly Guided Caliphate (Khilafate Rashida). The beginning of "oppressive monarchy" started with takeover of Yazid son of Amir Muawiyah. As per many Islamic scholars, currently the Muslim world is experiencing the "period of enslavement" which started with colonization during 19th century. Since colonization Muslims have been the weakest. There has been no central authority for Muslims, a Caliphate, and majority are dependent on the non-Muslim political powers like US, China, Russia and the West. But after this period once again there will return "khilafah on the pattern of Prophethood".
However before the restoration of original khilafah "on the pattern of prophethood" there will be a process and course of events which will lead towards it, and the prophecy of those events is found in a few other narrations. One of them is highly important because it clearly implies the tragedy of Karbala and the restoration of the original khilafah whose foundation will be laid by an Islamic revolution that will take place in the countries lying to the East of Arabia: "While we were with the Prophet, some young men from Banu Hashim approached us. When the Prophet saw them, his eyes filled with tears and the colour of his face changed. I said, 'We can see something has changed in your face, and it upsets us.' The Prophet ﷺ said, 'We are the people of Ahl al-Bayt for whom Allah has chosen the Hereafter rather than this world. The people of my Ahl al-Bayt will suffer a great deal after my death and will be persecuted until a people carrying black banners will come out of the east. They will instruct the people to do good (or ask for something good), but the people will refuse; they will fight until they are victorious, and the people will do as they asked, but they will not accept it from them until they hand over power to a man from my household. Then the earth will be filled with fairness, just as it had been filled with injustice. If any of you live to see this, you should go to him even if you have to crawl across ice.” (Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, Ibn Kathir) In this hadith Prophet Muhammad ﷺ predicted the trials that his Ahl al-Bayt will experience which happened when Hussain ibn Ali’s and his children were martyred in Karbala. He then said a man from his Ahl al-Bayt like Hussain ibn Ali (r.a) will reign over the Muslims in the end of times who will be supported through an Islamic revolution that will occur in the east. As per Islamic scholars this man will be Imam Mahdi, a descendant of the Prophet ﷺ, as foretold in another related hadith: “Armies emerging from the East shall advance, and after conquering one country after another, they shall help and strengthen the authority of Mahdi.” (Ibn Majah). The exact center of this Eastern revolution is identified as Khurasaan in another hadith: “Black standards will come from Khurasan, nothing shall turn them back until they are planted in Jerusalem." (Jami Tirmidhi) Ancient Khurasaan today includes entire Afghanistan and Western parts of Pakistan & Eastern parts of Iran bordering Afghanistan. Afghanistan is where the greatest armies of the 20th and 21st century have suffered their most astonishing defeats. The British Empire suffered defeat in the three attempts during Ango-Afghan wars. After British, the USSR Soviet Union and USA/NATO, despite their technological superiority, have suffered defeat in the last 40 years by the resistance and struggle of the Afghans. Today, it is this land where Islamic Emirate of the Taliban movement is struggling for the establishment of a an Islamic government. (Al Quran 2:249) أَنَّهُم مُّلَٰقُواْ ٱللَّهِ كَم مِّن فِئَةٖ قَلِيلَةٍ غَلَبَتۡ فِئَةٗ كَثِيرَةَۢ بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِۗ وَٱللَّهُ مَعَ ٱلصَّٰبِرِينَ - Allah, said: "How often, by Allah's will, Has a small force vanquished a big one? Allah is with those who steadfastly persevere."
Commenting on the above prophecies, Dr. Israr Ahmed (1932 - 2010) of Tanzeem e Islami, a renowned 20th & 21st Century Pakistani scholar and philosopher said that these imply there shall be in the future an Islamic state in areas which today comprise Afghanistan, and some parts bordering Afghanistan, so that armies from this part of the world will advance to towards Arabian peninsula to assist the Imam from the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt to establish khilafah on "the pattern of prophethood" as prophesied. The Taliban established their Islamic government in late 90s after ending the Afghan civil war. Dr. Israr Ahmed himself visited and witnessed their rule in the 90s. He was amazed that there was no injustice, only peace and stability was visible in the entire country due to strict enforcement of shariah, despite them being in poverty. He met several heads of states, government and military officials and shared the impression through these meetings that these people were very humble, without any trace of arrogance or pride. Late Dr. Javed Iqbal, one of the chief justices of Pakistan and son of Allama Iqbal, also visited Afghanistan during Taliban rule and upon his return shared his experience in Akora Khattak during a speech saying that he was certain that if the system, which is enforced in Afghanistan, is established in one or two other Islamic countries then the whole world will embrace Islam.
After 6 years of rule the Taliban were overthrown after 9/11 by a united military alliance of Western countries led by US, the most technologically advanced military powers to have ever come together for a single conflict. Yet after 20 years of occupation Taliban successfully defeated that alliance and emerged even stronger. Today as the US led forces are withdrawing, the Taliban have entered Kabul and are in control of more territory than they did back in the 90s and have once again declared their will to restore Islamic rule. As the Taliban are now back in process of rebuilding their state, they are consistently being threatened by the Western countries of isolation from the international community which would results in their facing sanctions and bar them from having any diplomatic and economic relations with the world. This is to somehow prevent them from establishing their Islamic rule which the West refers to as a “backward medieval era rule” somehow relating it to their own dark ages of Europe experience in which the religious authority of Church kept the society backwards in many ways. Once the withdrawal of international forces is complete and Taliban with the help of Afghans are able to bring back Islamic government then we can expect that they will be cut off from the world. But if they are forcefully cut off and kept isolated within their own borders like an open prison, then we can expect a backlash from their side which would eventually lead towards the fulfillment of what the Prophet ﷺ foretold in the above hadith “….They will ask for something good, but the people will refuse; they will fight until they are victorious, and the people will do as they asked, but they will not accept it from them until they hand over power to a man from my household…” This implies that the Taliban revolution will not remain contained within the Afghan borders but will eventually force them to break the barriers of imposed international isolation and spread in the region and beyond.