The discord between the Afghan government and Taliban over the utility of violence is the most significant issue that prevents a peaceful Afghanistan. The failure of both the sides to stop using violence is strengthening groups like the Islamic State (IS). The recent attack carried out by IS on an educational institute leaving scores of dead and wounded in Kabul bears testimony to this fact.

The systematic attacks on Kabul are sending a strong message about the group’s increasing influence. Some political analysts warned that given the instability in Afghanistan, IS could emerge strongly in Afghanistan after the outfit had left Syria and Iraq. Though the group established its presence in the war-torn country back in 2014, its attacks accelerated in and around Kabul only after the group left Syria.

Both the Ghani government and the Taliban must consider the IS a crucial challenge to the stability and peace of the country. Besides, the frequency of the group’s attacks and the consistent efforts to strengthen its numbers imply that the group wants to remain a major actor in Afghan affairs.

The militant group has been seen as a constant spoiler of the peace process. As the Afghan government and Taliban settle their disagreements via peace talks, perhaps it is also time to think about IS. Sadly, all the stakeholders to the peace process in Afghanistan, including Pakistan, as well as the international community, have not given any attention to IS’ activities in the country.

The emergence of the notorious group is not only worrisome for any future Afghan government. It also draws a picture of a sombre future for all neighbouring countries as well. All parties that want a peaceful Afghanistan must divert their quick and full attention to the increasing strength of IS in the country ravaged by a decades-long conflict.