It is a testament to the shortening attention span of modern media that since the Saudi-led coalition started bombing Yemen – and the spate of international posturing and diplomacy that followed – the activates of the Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) have become part of the background. Part of the reason behind this shift is the fact that the nature of the conflict in Iraq has changed. Gone are the days when the counter-offensive was fresh and vigorous; the enemy at the gates has been beaten back and now what lies ahead is a long and arduous campaign. The initial victories at mount Sinjar, Tikrit and Ebril led people to believe that the counter-offensive would be just as swift as the original ISIS campaign – this has proven false. ISIS has struck back at the oil-producing town of Baiji and has retaken majority of the city of Ramadi, despite being pushed back in other areas. The months ahead are bound to be the same; the real danger here is not of an ISIS victory, but of a campaign that drags on indefinitely, sapping at the resources and the motivation to fight, and eventually turning into a perpetual conflict that the world forgets

There are other dangers of this stalemate too; without an exigency commanding all of the terror outfit’s attention, it is free to expand its influence in other countries. And it seems to be doing so; investigators suspect ISIS’s involvement in the Safoora Goth attack; where ISIS leaflets were discovered in the aftermath. Jundullah, which claimed the attack, has declared allegiance to ISIS and has recently made claims that it receives funding from them too. While security officials dismiss these claims as an exaggeration, and downplay the ISIS threat to Pakistan, the signs that ISIS has established a presence in the already overcrowded militant space in Pakistan are becoming hard to ignore. On Saturday two Islamic State campaigners were arrested from Peshawar, while leaflets, wall chalking and recruiters have been discovered repeatedly over the past few months. It may be so that the ‘core’ ISIS group – the one that is fighting in Syria and Iraq – may not be engaged in Pakistan, yet it highly likely that affiliates, self-styled loyalists and copy-cats do exist. Western countries have seen a spate of attacks carried out by radicalised individuals ‘inspired’ by ISIS; in Pakistan entire organizations exist which share this extreme ideology and who would benefit from association with the group. It is time we start taking the threat seriously.