Taliban claim killings of 8 ISIS-K militants in northeast Afghanistan


Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid looks on as he addresses the first press conference in Kabul on Aug. 17, 2021. (Photo: AFP)

The ruling Taliban in Afghanistan announced on Saturday that their security forces have killed at least eight key Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) fighters and captured three more.

Taliban fighters conducted an afternoon raid against an ISIS-K facility in Taloqan, the capital of the northeastern province of Takhar. They removed what local officials described as state-run media in Afghanistan as a "funding, equipping and training center" for the terrorist organization.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, confirmed the military action late Saturday, stating that special forces from the General Directorate of Intelligence, the new name of the Afghan spy agency, attacked the militant base.

Mujahid said eight members, including a vital group commander known as Younis Uzbekistani, were slain in the ensuing violent confrontations. He did not provide further information.

According to city residents, the security operation temporarily closed the key route connecting Taloqan to Badakhshan province. Both provinces of Afghanistan share a border with Tajikistan.

Growing ISIS-K activities in Afghan border regions have alarmed Tajikistan and its neighbors in Central Asia.

ISIS-K allegedly claimed responsibility for rocket fire into Tajikistan from the Khwaja Ghar area of Takhar last month, but no deaths were reported.

According to Tajik authorities, bullets, not rockets, were fired mistakenly during a confrontation between Taliban forces and ISIS-K terrorists on the Afghan border and landed in Tajikistan.

ISIS-K had upped its attacks in Afghanistan after the Taliban overthrew the government-sponsored by the West in August of last year, days before the final U.S.-led foreign troops left the country.

Hundreds of people, primarily members of the Shi'a Muslim minority in Afghanistan, have been killed and maimed by militant violence.

The United Nations has issued a warning that ISIS-goal K's "remains to challenge the Taliban by waging a war consistent with the Daesh concept of 'global jihad'."

ISIS-short-term K's focus is expected to remain on assaults against soft targets such as Shia Hazara mosques and minority communities, the United Nations warned in a report released last month using the Arabic acronym for the terrorist organization.

The investigation indicated that ISIS-K has between 1,500 and 4,000 fighters "concentrated in remote areas" of Afghanistan's Kunar, Nangarhar, and maybe Nuristan provinces. In addition to northern and northeastern regions, ISIS-K has smaller, covert cells in Badakhshan, Takhar, Jowzjan, Kunduz, and Faryab.

The Taliban dismissed the U.N. assessment as false, claiming that since the Islamist group seized control of Afghanistan a year ago, "the world and the region have been protected from harm from Afghanistan."

The Taliban foreign ministry stated that the government "again reaffirms its commitments and assures all that no one will be permitted to use Afghan territory against others."

Recent American military assessments have also cautioned that al-Qaida and ISIS-K are gaining power since the Taliban's control of Afghanistan and might constitute a substantial threat beyond the country's borders.

Publish : 2022-06-13 13:29:00

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