At least 31 militants killed in clashes between Taliban, Daesh in Afghanistan
by Anadolu Agency
KABUL, AfghanistanJan 06, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Anadolu Agency
Jan 06, 2016 12:00 am
At least 31 militants were killed in fresh clashes between Taliban and Daesh fighters in the Bati Kot and Achin districts of Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province Wednesday morning, according to Ataullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor.
Khogyani said that a raging gun battle between the two groups in the Doyam Farm area of Bati Kot had left 18 Daesh militants dead -- including two group commanders -- and four others injured.
A second clash in the Achin District had left eight Daesh fighters and five Taliban dead, the spokesman added.
Two days earlier, Afghan officials in Nangarhar claimed to have killed 15 Daesh fighters after the latter attacked several local security posts.
Afghan security forces have recently launched a major ground and air offensive against Daesh in the restive Shinwari zone and other districts of Nangarhar.
Gen. Dawlat Waziri, a Defense Ministry spokesman, said that a number of Daesh strongholds had been targeted in recent air raids.
According to official reports, more than 200 Daesh militants have been killed -- and hundreds more injured -- in airstrikes that remain ongoing.
Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Seddiqi said police, in coordination with other security agencies, had conducted nine anti-Daesh operations in Nangarhar over the past 10 days, leaving 144 Daesh fighters dead, including their commanders, and another 58 injured.
First arising in Syria and Iraq, Daesh appeared in southern and eastern Afghanistan almost one year ago. Since then, Kabul has taken several steps to dismantle the Daesh network that has taken root on its soil.
Daesh gained notoriety in Afghanistan after beheading a number of civilians in the Ghazni and Nangarhar provinces. Since then, it has targeted all who oppose it, including Afghan government officials, security personnel or members of the rival Taliban group.
The two militant groups are currently locked in fierce fighting in several parts of the country.
The Taliban, for its part, objects to the notion of an anti-government insurgency led by two different groups, saying this would harm its objective of applying Islamic law and government in Afghanistan.
The group has urged Daesh not to act independently in Afghanistan, which the Taliban once ruled from 1996 to 2001.
Daesh has also contributed to creating rifts and divisions within the ranks of the Taliban, with some more hardcore Taliban members joining the more extreme group.
With Daesh's growing influence, the Taliban has had to divert its attention and resources away from its fight with Kabul and now faces two enemies.
Political affairs experts say the Afghan government should take advantage of the existing differences between the two groups to win the hearts and minds of the people in areas in which the two are locking horns.
The Afghan government had earlier said it was drawing up a strategy to deal with Daesh, with the country's National Security Council saying it was determined to wipe out the terrorist network.
Naseer Ahmad Hotak, a military affairs analyst, told Anadolu Agency that the Afghan government should take "decisive action" against Daesh, as the group had no agenda other than spreading terror and destabilizing the country.