Afghanistan arrests ISIS regional leader

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Afghan security forces arrested three senior South Asia ISIS members including the group’s regional leader, the government said on Monday.

The militant group’s head of South Asia, Abu Omar Khorasani, was arrested in Kabul alongside the group’s spy chief and public relations officer, the General Directorate of National Security (NDS) and Interior Ministry said in a statement.

“NDS will continue its comprehensive and targeted operations to hunt down senior leaders of regional terrorist groups and destroy the joint hubs of these terrorist networks,” the statement said.

South Asia ISIS is mainly focused on a small presence in Afghanistan, largely in the north, though it has waged high profile attacks further south in the capital.

Afghan Sikh men attend a funeral procession and cremation ceremony for those who were killed by a lone ISIS gunman in Kabul, Afghanistan on March 26, 2020. (AP)

Afghan Sikh men attend a funeral procession and cremation ceremony for those who were killed by a lone ISIS gunman in Kabul, Afghanistan on March 26, 2020. (AP)

 

Afghan security forces arrested eight members of a network grouping ISIS and Haqqani militants responsible for bloody attacks in the capital including on Sikh worshippers, the country’s security agency said last Wednesday.

The ongoing violence underscored the challenges to securing lasting peace in Afghanistan even after the US signed a troop withdrawal agreement with the militant Taliban in February.

The Taliban, which says it opposes ISIS and has fought the group, has since held off on large-scale attacks on foreign forces or in major centers, though it has continued attacking Afghan security forces throughout the provinces.

On Monday, there were four roadside blasts in the capital which wounded four civilians, including a child, according to Kabul’s police. No group immediately claimed responsibility.

Newly freed Taliban prisoners are seen at Bagram prison, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 11, 2020. (Reuters)

Newly freed Taliban prisoners are seen at Bagram prison, north of Kabul, Afghanistan April 11, 2020. (Reuters)

 

Clashes in eastern Laghman province between security forces and the Taliban killed six security force members and wounded five, according to Haroon Yousufzai, a local military spokesman. The ministry of defense said the Taliban also suffered heavy casualties.

The Afghan government and foreign powers including the US have been calling on the group to reduce violence, saying it is hindering progress on moving towards formal peace talks.

 

 

 

Reuters

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