Taliban letter warns Isis to stay out of Afghanistan

A letter sent from the Afghan Taliban to Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi today has warned the group not to make any significant inroads in Afghanistan or face the consequences of Taliban retaliation.

The letter, signed by the Taliban deputy leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, warns Isis against waging a separate fight in Afghanistan, threatening that the Taliban will seek to defend its achievements in the country.

"Jihad (holy war) against the Americans and their allies must be conducted under one flag and one leadership," the letter says. The Taliban "does not consider the multiplicity of jihadi ranks beneficial either for jihad or for Muslims."

The publishing of the open letter on the Taliban's website in Urdu, Pashto and Arabic comes amid an increased period of fighting amongst Taliban militants, battling against the American-backed Afghan government, defectors within their own ranks and, most recently, against breakaway factions allied with Isis in the south of the country.

In recent weeks, the Taliban has increased attacks across the country, targeting law enforcement officials on a regular basis. Last weekend, 20 Afghan police officers were killed when Taliban militants ambushed a police checkpoint in Musa Qala district of Helmand.

Clashes and heavy fighting in eastern Afghanistan between the Taliban and factions aligned with Isis has also become a common occurrence.

Isis spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, declared in January 2015 that the group had established a province in Khorasan (the historic name for a region that covers parts of both Pakistan and Afghanistan), with a former Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander serving as the governor of the province.

Back in April, Isis Wilayat Khorasan, an Afghan offshoot of Isis, claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack in Jalalabad, which killed 35 people queuing at a bank to collect wages.

The letter addressed to Isis comes just two days after Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid dismissed calls for peace in Afghanistan, vowing to increase attacks across the country during the holy month of Ramadan, which begins in just two days time.