Buried under the lede of this article is some rather bad news about leadership recruitment by ISIS:
“U.S. and Afghan officials say ISIS is now in three provinces in Afghanistan, **and over the weekend, Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar announced he would support ISIS.”(1)
For those who might not recognize the name Gulbuddin was one of the key warlords running Mujhadeen against the Soviets, and then was the Pakistan lead candidate for the successor government. But he’d spent so much time fighting other Mujhadeen he had no support and civil war broke out as Pakistan shifted support to the Taliban. He sat out most of the 90’s and early 2000’s in Iranian exiles, but came back to run a new militant group in 2008 to lead Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), a group of several thousand insurgents. He is considered one of the top three leaders of the insurgency in Afghanistan, though he has never had close ties to the Taliban or AQ.
The guy is a mixed bag for Pashtun, AQ and Taliban loyalists…but he’s a perfect fit for ISIS’s style of salafism takfirism that is as comfortable killing “near enemies” as they are “far enemies” at the same time. Unclear yet how many of the HIG will follow his lead and declare bayat to ISIS.