IS Present in 3 Afghan Provinces

IS Present in 3 Afghan ProvincesIS Present in 3 Afghan Provinces

An Afghan official said the Islamic State group now has a presence in three provinces but that the government is determined to drive it out.

Zafar Hashimi, the Afghan president's deputy spokesman, said Sunday the militant group, which controls large areas of Iraq and Syria, is active in the eastern Nangarhar, western Farah and southern Helmand provinces.

Hashimi said security forces have launched successful operations against IS but gave no further details, AP reported.

Taliban, which have been at war with the government for nearly 14 years and are also active in the three provinces, have warned the IS to stay out of the country. Taliban do not recognize self-styled "caliphate" of the IS. IS's motives in Afghanistan remain ambiguous, and it is unclear if the group is capable of holding swaths of territory while battling Afghan National Security Forces and the Taliban.

However, it is entirely possible that IS will seek to tap the country’s poorly monitored mining industry to fund their primary operations in Iraq and Syria.

Afghanistan sits atop an estimated $3 trillion worth of mineral resources, ranging from copper and emeralds to rare earth metals.

The majority of the country’s deposits is undeveloped, abandoned awaiting new contracts, or mined by local community members.