Hundreds of Afghans displaced after fresh clashes between ISIS, Taliban

06:21 PM | 27 Nov, 2017
Hundreds of Afghans displaced after fresh clashes between ISIS, Taliban
KABUL - Fresh fighting between the Islamic State (IS) terror group and Taliban insurgents has displaced hundreds of people in an eastern Afghan province.

More than 200 families have fled their homes in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar following fresh fighting between the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’ (ISIS) terror group and Taliban insurgents, according to local media reports.

The clashes took place in Taliban-strongholds in Khogyani district, the Radio Liberty reports.

Some villagers, who view IS as an outside force, have supported Taliban militants to battle the IS fighters in the district and counter the terror group’s frequent attacks on their villages.

This is not the first time local residents have been displaced by clashes between the two groups. Civilians have borne the brunt of the rivalry between ISIS, or more commonly known as Daesh, and the Taliban in the district.

More than 2,000 families were displaced and at least eight civilians were killed in October when ISIS and Taliban fighters clashed for several days in the Waziro Tangi region of the Khogyani district, according to provincial authorities.

The Waziro Tangi Valley is considered an important economic corridor used by militants for mineral smuggling.

Afghanistan has some of the world's richest mineral resources, including extensive deposits of copper, iron, gemstones and precious metals.

Since its emergence in early 2015 in the southern districts of Nangarhar, the ‘Islamic State’ group in Afghanistan, also known as ISIS-Khorasan, has engaged in frequent clashes with Taliban fighters for control of districts and villages in the province.

Besides battling with Taliban militants, IS fighters have repeatedly targeted local villages in Nangarhar. The group has destroyed homes, torched markets and barred children from attending school in areas under its control.

The terrorist group has also claimed responsibility for numerous deadly attacks in major Afghan cities, including attacks on mosques and worshipers.

Afghan and U.S. forces say they conduct joint operations against ISIS militants in the country, and Afghan special forces, backed by US ground and airpower, have cleared many areas of IS militants in Nangarhar.

Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesperson for the Nangarhar governor, on Saturday told reporters at least 16 IS fighters, including two commanders, were killed in an airstrike in the Achin district, the group’s stronghold.