More than 150 Daesh fighters surrendered to Afghan security forces in the northwestern province of Jawzjan after they were defeated and driven out by Taliban and government officials said yesterday. The defeat represents a major setback for the group, which first appeared in eastern Afghanistan around four years ago and which had gained a foothold in southern Jawzjan, where it fought for control of smuggling routes into neighbouring Turkmenistan.
"The evil phenomenon of Daesh has completely been eliminated and people have been freed from its tortures in Jawzjan province of Afghanistan," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement. The Taliban launched an offensive several weeks ago in Jawzjan against the group, which they oppose as much as they do the Western-backed government in Kabul and which has established an unmatched reputation for brutality.
Last month, General John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, welcomed the fact that the Taliban were fighting Daesh, which he said had to be destroyed. U.S. forces have launched air strikes against Daesh fighters in Jawzjan in recent months, but the Taliban has rejected any suggestion of cooperation and accused the U.S. of trying to obstruct them.
Mujahid said more than 150 Daesh fighters had been killed and more than 130 captured by the Taliban with the rest surrendering to government forces rather than the Taliban. Afghan government officials said 152 fighters from the Daesh strongholds of Darzab and Qush Tepa surrendered to security forces in the early hours of the morning.