AP/ABC, 30 January 2018
Kathy Gannon quotes AAN’s Thomas Ruttig, together with Andrew Wilder and Brian Glyn Williams and others:
“The Taliban and IS are clearly competitors in the Afghan arena,” said Thomas Ruttig, whose Afghan Analysts network [sic] has deep knowledge of the country and has conducted nationwide studies into a myriad of issues confounding the country, including the IS and Taliban.
“The Taliban I see as ‘national Islamists’ while the IS is ‘Internationalist,'” he said, dismissing reports of collaboration between the two insurgent groups, attributing them to rumors and bickering in northern Afghanistan within the Taliban.
Ruttig said Taliban fighters in northern Afghanistan recently flew the IS flag after the Taliban leadership ordered them to hand over their tax collection revenue to the governing Taliban shura or council. A major source of revenue for the Taliban is the tax or tolls they charge local residents for safe passage or to move legal as well as illegal commodities to market.
“The groups in the north are a separate phenomenon. There, Taliban commanders have switched to use IS insignia, but the trigger was conflict over transferring taxes to the central leadership,” said Ruttig.
This article was last updated on 9 Mar 2020