Afghanistan’s Taliban said Thursday their special forces had killed 11 Islamic State group operatives and captured seven others in overnight raids against the group’s hideouts in Kabul and elsewhere in the country.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed in a statement the militants had played a central role in organizing recent attacks in the Afghan capital, including a deadly raid on a hotel housing Chinese nationals, an armed attack on Pakistan’s embassy and a suicide bombing of the city military airport.
“The security forces’ action destroyed three Daesh shelters in Kabul and Zaranj,” Mujahid said, referring to the capital of southeastern Nimroze province, while providing details of Wednesday’s raids. He used an Arabic acronym for Islamic State’s Afghan chapter, known as IS-Khorasan.
“Foreign Daesh members were also among the dead,” Mujahid added, noting the network of militants was also involved in transferring foreign IS-Khorasan members to Afghanistan.
“A large quantity of small arms, hand grenades, mines, suicide vests and explosives were seized by security forces. A number of suspects were also taken into custody for further investigation,” he said. VOA could not independently verify the claims.
The Taliban spokesman said a separate overnight raid in eastern Nangarhar province, which borders Pakistan, resulted in the killing of three IS-Khorasan operatives, including an important commander.
The December 12 attack on Kabul’s Longan hotel killed or wounded several Taliban forces, while China confirmed five of its nationals had also suffered injuries.
Pakistan said the December 2 attack on Islamabad’s embassy in the Afghan capital was aimed at assassinating Ubaid ur Rehman Nizamani, the chief Pakistani diplomat in the country. Nizamani escaped unharmed in the shooting incident, but his Pakistani security guard was injured.
IS-Khorasan claimed responsibility for both attacks.
The group also took credit for plotting last Sunday’s deadly suicide bombing of the military airport, claiming it was carried out by a fighter who had participated and survived the raid on the hotel where Chinese nationals were staying.
The militant group posted on Telegram that the airport attack killed 20 people and wounded 30 others. Taliban officials disputed those figures but have not shared official casualty toll to date.
The repeated attacks in Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan have raised questions about claims that Taliban security forces have degraded the presence of IS-Khorasan in the country.
Last week, a car bomb in the northeastern Badakhshan border province killed the Taliban regional police chief and his two guards. IS-Khorasan took responsibility for plotting that attack in the provincial capital, Fayzabad.