Taliban launch ops against IS in Afghanistan
The Taliban have launched a crackdown on suspected Islamic State hideouts in southern Afghanistan, officials said yesterday, following an increase in bloody attacks by the group in recent weeks.
The operation against Islamic State-Khorasan -- the local chapter of the jihadist group -- started around midnight in at least four districts of Kandahar province and continued through yesterday morning, Taliban provincial police chief Abdul Ghafar Mohammadi told AFP.
"So far, four Daesh (IS) fighters have been killed and ten arrested... one of them blew himself up inside a house," he said.
A member of the Taliban intelligence agency who declined to be named told AFP at least three civilians were killed in the operation.
Local media quoted a Taliban official as saying there had also been a blast in a western suburb of Kabul yesterday morning with no casualties.
In the three months since the Taliban came to power, IS-K has been active in Jalalabad, Kunduz, Kandahar and Kabul.
Last month the group claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack on a Shia mosque in Kandahar that killed at least 60 people and injured scores more.
That attack came a week after another deadly mosque blast claimed by IS-K in northern Kunduz province killed more than 60 people.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan's acting foreign minister has said the Taliban is acting as a mediator between the Pakistani government and the Pakistan Taliban, known by the acronym TTP.
In an interview to the BBC's Urdu service on Sunday, Amir Khan Muttaqi said the Afghan Taliban had stepped in at the "request" of both parties.
"No final agreement has been reached; however, the start has been very good, and in the first part of the [talks] there has been an agreement on a one-month ceasefire," said Muttaqi.