Skip to main content

‘Isis is now considered more deadly than the Taliban’

Podcast: ‘Isis is now considered more deadly than the Taliban’

Reporter Rukmini Callimachi discusses how terrorist group’s decline has been overstated

A member loyal to Islamic State waves a flag in Raqqa in 2014. FIle photograph: Reuters

Declan Conlon

about 20 hours ago


‘World View’ is a weekly foreign affairs podcast from ‘The Irish Times’. Subscribe on Android, on Apple Podcasts, on Stitcher or on Soundcloud.

Is Islamic State really defeated, or “giving up”, as Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi and US president Donald Trump have claimed?

On this week’s World View podcast we talk to Rukmini Callimachi, the New York Timesreporter whose coverage of the terror group also known as Isis has brought information about the organisation’s internal operations and characteristics to light.

And Callimachi warns that, although Islamic State’s territory has reduced in size by 98 per cent in Syria and Iraq, “I would not describe the caliphate as having been destroyed or having been lost”. In other places, it is growing in strength.

“In the country of Yemen, not too far away from Iraq and Syria, according to the US Pentagon the number of Isis fighters in the past year has doubled. In Afghanistan, where we’re used to hearing about the Taliban, Isis is now considered more deadly than the Taliban.”


Callimachi has been here before. She was in Mali in 2013, in a region an al-Qaeda-affiliated group had just been driven from. Osama Bin Laden was dead, and western governments were saying the organisation “had been decapitated”.

In a bank once used by al-Qaeda as their local police station, Callimachi found a cache of documents that challenged the prevailing view. “There I was picking up documents signed by the general manager of al-Qaeda giving detailed instructions to the fighters in Mali on exactly how to carry out their jihad.”

“I realised right away that the official narrative was wrong. It was dishonest and it was not in line with what the group was actually doing.”

Internal debate

The discovery changed Callimachi’s perspective on al-Qaeda in other ways. The documents revealed an intriguing internal debate on whether the destruction of a Unesco site in Timbuktu would help or harm its cause.

And today Isis also has internal debates about how it should behave, says Callimachi, especially when its attacks are responsible for the deaths of Sunni Muslims.

“The thing to keep in mind about all of these groups is that they’re being run by by human beings. Do we know of any organisation where people are 100 per cent on the same page?”

For Callimachi’s analysis of the state of Islamic State in 2018, listen to the podcast.

World View is hosted by Foreign Editor Chris Dooley.


Popular posts from this blog

SSG Commando Muddassir Iqbal of Pakistan Army

“ Commando Muddassir Iqbal was part of the team who conducted Army Public School operation on 16 December 2014. In this video he reveals that he along with other commandos was ordered to kill the innocent children inside school, when asked why should they kill children after killing all the terrorist he was told that it would be a chance to defame Taliban and get nation on the side. He and all other commandos killed children and later Taliban was blamed.
Muddassir Iqbal has deserted the military and now he is  with mujahedeen somewhere in AF PAK border area”
For authenticity of  this tape journalists can easy reach to his home town to interview his family members or   ISPR as he reveals his army service number”
Asalam o Alaikum: My name is Muddassir Iqbal. My father’s name is Naimat Ali. I belong to Sialkot divison (Punjab province), my village is Shamsher Poor and district, tehsil and post office  Narowal. Unfortunately I was working in Pakistan army. I feel embarrassed to tell you …

The Rise of China-Europe Railways

The Rise of China-Europe RailwaysMarch 6, 2018The Dawn of a New Commercial Era?For over two millennia, technology and politics have shaped trade across the Eurasian supercontinent. The compass and domesticated camels helped the “silk routes” emerge between 200 and 400 CE, and peaceful interactions between the Han and Hellenic empires allowed overland trade to flourish. A major shift occurred in the late fifteenth century, when the invention of large ocean-going vessels and new navigation methods made maritime trade more competitive. Mercantilism and competition among Europe’s colonial powers helped pull commerce to the coastlines. Since then, commerce between Asia and Europe has traveled primarily by sea.1Against this historical backdrop, new railway services between China and Europe have emerged rapidly. Just 10 years ago, regular direct freight services from China to Europe did not exist.2 Today, they connect roughly 35 Chinese…

CPEC Jobs in Pakistan, salary details

JOBS...نوکریاں چائنہ کمپنی میںPlease help the deserving persons...Salary:Salary package in China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in these 300,000 jobs shall be on daily wages. The details of the daily wages are as follows;Welder: Rs. 1,700 dailyHeavy Duty Driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyMason: Rs. 1,500 dailyHelper: Rs. 850 dailyElectrician: Rs. 1,700 dailySurveyor: Rs. 2,500 dailySecurity Guard: Rs. 1,600 dailyBulldozer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyConcrete mixer machine operator: Rs. 2,000 dailyRoller operator: Rs. 2,000 dailySteel fixer: Rs. 2,200 dailyIron Shuttering fixer: Rs. 1,800 dailyAccount clerk: Rs. 2,200 dailyCarpenter: Rs. 1,700 dailyLight duty driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyLabour: Rs. 900 dailyPara Engine mechanic: Rs. 1,700 dailyPipe fitter: Rs. 1,700 dailyStorekeeper: Rs. 1,700 dailyOffice boy: Rs. 1,200 dailyExcavator operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyShovel operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyComputer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailySecurity Supervisor: Rs. 2,200 dailyCook for Chinese food: Rs. 2,000 dailyCook…