Since the very beginning of the war against international terrorist elements in Afghanistan in the fall of 2001, a confluence of Haqqani Network, Al Qaeda, localized insurgency elements, and Afghan Taliban have carefully cultivated a hub of operations and a substantial haven in southeastern Afghanistan.

As many know of Afghanistan’s recent history, the domination of the eastern region of the country by militants and insurgents predates the invasion by American and allied forces in 2001. These facts underscore the power of local factions of insurgents and militant groups over large swaths of many provinces in Afghanistan’s east.

Most recently, the enemy focus on establishing a large base of operations by which to target national government officials and offices in Kabul, infrastructure, and Afghan citizens, has been fixed primarily in the Ghazni province. Last week, The Islamic State (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS) declared what a spokesperson for the group characterized as a call to arms.

Among the more interesting aspects of the video clip of the announcement is the noting of the speaker’s accent:

Speaking in the Ghazni dialect of Pashto, the trio’s spokesperson claimed to represent a group called the Islamic Organization of Great Afghanistan and stated his readiness to fight for the IS and its “caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The unidentified spokesperson called for all militants in Afghanistan, the Pashtun tribal areas in Pakistan, and in the Baluch areas of Pakistan and Iran to join together under the IS banner.

At times, however, he appeared as much focused on his own nationalistic agenda as the Islamic State’s goal of uniting all Muslim lands in a new caliphate. He repeatedly called for attacks on the “Punjabi state” of Pakistan and accused the Afghan Taliban’s leaders of working for Islamabad’s interests, while praising IS as the only power able to “free” his countrymen. (Charles Recknagel, RFE/RL, September 26)

Last week, hundreds of insurgents reportedly stormed through Ajrestan District in Ghazni, resulting in dozens killed. Among the stark realities reinforced by the attack is the national government’s apparent inability to effectively project its security into the province: