Afghanistan

IS fighters surrender in Afghanistan’s north after Taliban surge

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An Afghan soldier stands guard atop a vehicle near the site of an attack in Jalalabad on July 31, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

After intense fighting with the Taliban, more than 150 Islamic Statev(IS) fighters surrendered in Afghanistan; a move hailed as the end of the IS in northern Afghanistan. However, NATO has urged that it would be too early to write off the group in the region. The fighting between IS and the Taliban took place in Jowzjan province in the north, with added pressure coming from the US and Afghan forces.

“Their fighters have surrendered in the past, but this time it is more important because the Daesh leader and deputy surrendered with more than 150 fighters all at once,” Mohammad Hanif Rezaee, spokesperson for the Afghan army, said. It was also reported that almost 30 women and children also handed themselves to the Afghan authorities. Rezaee further added that “With this, the Daesh chapter is going to be closed in the north”.

The Islamic State has enjoyed a small but significant presence recently in Afghanistan, especially in the eastern province of Nangarhar, but more recently in Jowzjan. Moreover, the group has also been involved in territorial wars with the Taliban, boasting around 2000 fighters. IS has also claimed responsibility for a number of deadly attacks in Afghanistan in recent months.

Amid conflicting reports, the Taliban took the major credit for the IS surrender. The group claimed that it had captured 130 IS fighters, wounding more than 100 and killing 153. The development comes in wake of the Afghan forces taking control of the security situation in Jalalabad. Moreover, the Taliban have also recently reduced their activities by not claiming any major attacks, amid growing local and global pressure on the group to join the peace process.

 

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