Debate continues over the probability and likelihood of a nuclear ISIS. While reportedly improbable, Central Asia could be a starting point for the Islamic State’s nuclear ambitions.
ISIS in Central Asia
In March, terrorists handed out hundreds of notices on official ISIS letterhead before and after the bombing of a Shi’ite mosque.
Though officials continue to deny an Islamic State presence in Pakistan, “they’re operating there,” says Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI).
“Their recruiting pamphlets are there across Pakistan; brick-and-mortar office buildings.”
Yet, a bigger concern is the growth of ISIS in neighboring Afghanistan.
Earlier this week, the top commander of U.S. forces in the region called for more troops because ISIS and al-Qaeda were increasing in strength.
“The ISIS influence is stronger in Afghanistan than in Pakistan,” claims this security analyst.
“However, Pakistan would not be able to counter the threat alone if he conflict in Afghanistan worsens and Pakistani and Afghani militants inspired by the ISIS try to capture territory along the Pak-Afghan border for establishing a ‘caliphate.’”
While clearly present in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Islamic State’s “hold” on Central Asia as a whole is arguable.
“No Central Asian government has produced much by way of proof that Islamic State is operating in any substantial fashion within the region,” said a blogger on Eurasianet.org.