05 January 2023

Afghan Taliban kill eight in raids of so-called Islamic State hideouts

05 January 2023

Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban said it has killed eight so-called Islamic State (Isis) militants and arrested nine others in raids targeting key figures in a spate of attacks in Kabul.

The raids in the capital city and western Nimroz province on Wednesday targeted militants who organised recent attacks on Kabul’s Longan Hotel, Pakistan’s embassy and the military airport, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

Eight Isis fighters, including foreign nationals, were killed and seven others arrested in Kabul, while a separate operation in western Nimroz province resulted in two more arrests, Mr Mujahid said.

“These members had a main role in the attack on the Chinese hotel and paved the way for foreign IS members to come to Afghanistan,” Mr Mujahid said in a tweet.

Isis claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing near a checkpoint at the Afghan capital’s military airport Sunday.

The attack was carried out by the same militant who took part in the Longan Hotel assault in mid-December, it said.

The regional affiliate of Isis — known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province and a key rival of the Taliban — has increased its attacks in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in 2021.

Targets have included Taliban patrols and members of Afghanistan’s Shiite minority.

Isis published a photo of the attacker, identifying him as Abdul Jabbar, saying he withdrew safely from the attack on the hotel after running out of ammunition.

He detonated his explosives-laden vest targeting the soldiers gathered at the checkpoint, it added.

Light weapons, hand grenades, mines, vests and explosives were confiscated by the Taliban’s security forces during the raids on an Isis hideout in the Shahdai Salehin neighbourhood, Mr Mujahid said.

Local residents reported hearing several explosions and an hours-long gun fight.

Mohammad Hakim Painda, a local resident, told the Associated Press one of the raided houses was occupied by a family that moved recently to the area.

He said two women and two children were rescued from inside.

Badrudin, a resident from the same neighbourhood, said Taliban security forces surrounded the area and asked people to stay inside their homes before launching the operation.

“I wanted to come out of house but Taliban asked me to stay inside. Then (the) attack started and last(ed) about two hours,” said Badrudin, who like many Afghans uses only one name.

The Taliban swept across the country in August 2021, seizing power as US and Nato forces were in the last weeks of their final withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of war.

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