Taliban splinters as ISIS makes inroads in Afghanistan

“The Afghan Taliban who want to continue to fight are led by Mullah Omar,” he said, referring to the shadowy figure who ran the organization throughout its time in government. “Those who don’t want to have joined [ISIS] ranks, and the pro-talks elements could be seen in Kabul on the side of the government.”

Afghan intelligence officials also say they believed that rifts had opened up within the militant group.

“The cracks in the ranks of Taliban began late last year with the emergence of Daesh in the region,” a senior Afghan intelligence official told NBC News on condition of anonymity, calling ISIS by the another name. “The first big defection [from Taliban] to Daesh was senior Taliban commander Abdul Rauf Khadin … who was killed in a joint operation with U.S. forces a few months ago.”

Reports of infighting among militants and ISIS making inroads in to Afghanistan surfaced after the announcement in January by ISIS of creation of a council for the province of Khorasan — a historic name of the territory covering modern-day Afghanistan, Pakistan and surrounding areas.