A one-time dissident leader of the Afghan Taliban, Abdul Rauf Khadim, has been named the head of the Islamic State in Khorasan (Afghanistan), The Express Tribune has learnt.
IS leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi anointed Khadim, who earlier ditched the Taliban for the Islamic State, as his grouping’s top representative in Afghanistan during the latter’s trip to Iraq and Syria, sources said.
There has been a steady rise in defections to the Islamic State in the wake of infighting and fissures within other militant groups. The Islamic State has drawn many militant leaders into its fold as a consequence. Belonging to the Helmand province of Afghanistan, Khadim has served the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, also known as Tehreek e Taliban Afghanistan in various capacities. He was a top military leader of the group before Maulvi Abdul Qayoom Zakir, another senior Taliban commander who held vseveral important posts.
After his removal from the office, both Khadim and Zakir developed differences with Mullah Muhammad Omar and other top colleagues. Both of them have disassociated themselves from the Taliban and are inactive.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2015.