Daesh militants abduct and kill 30 in Afghanistan

Daesh militants abduct and kill 30 in Afghanistan
AFP file photo

Kabul - The killings underscore unravelling security in Afghanistan as the resurgent Taleban continue a push into urban centres 15 years after they were toppled from power.



By AFP

Published: Wed 26 Oct 2016, 12:19 PM

Last updated: Wed 26 Oct 2016, 2:29 PM

Militants linked to Daesh militants abducted and killed around 30 civilians, including children, in central Afghanistan, officials said on Wednesday, raising concerns about the group's expanding presence beyond its eastern stronghold.
The killings occurred late Tuesday north of Firoz Koh, the capital of Ghor province, with the local government calling it a revenge attack after a local Daesh commander was killed.
"Our security forces with the help of locals conducted an operation and killed a Daesh commander yesterday. Daesh fighters in return abducted around 30 villagers, mostly shepherds," Ghor Governor Nasir Khazeh said.
"Their dead bodies were found by local people this morning."
Abdul Hameed Nateqi, a Ghor provincial council member, gave a similar account to AFP, adding that the assailants were self-proclaimed supporters of Daesh.
The killings underscore unravelling security in Afghanistan as the resurgent Taleban continue a push into urban centres 15 years after they were toppled from power.
Daesh fighters have been trying to expand their presence in Afghanistan, winning over sympathisers, recruiting followers and challenging the Taleban on their own turf, primarily in the country's east.
In March Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced that the militants had been defeated after local security forces claimed victory in a months-long operation against the group.
But militants have continued to launch deadly strikes in the country.
The latest devastating attack in Ghor represents a major escalation for Daesh, which so far has largely been confined to the eastern province of Nangarhar where it is notorious for brutality including beheadings.
The Afghan government is currently in the middle of an operation backed by NATO airstrikes against Daesh in the province.
NATO recently said the group's influence was waning as it steadily lost territory, with fighters largely confined to two or three districts in Nangarhar from around nine in January.
"Right now we see them (Daesh) very focused on trying to establish their berth... inside Afghanistan," John Nicholson, the top US and NATO commander in the country, told reporters on Sunday.
"Of course with our Afghan partners we have been able to reduce that territory significantly and inflict heavy casualties on them."
In July, Daesh claimed responsibility for twin explosions that ripped through crowds of Hazaras in Kabul, killing at least 85 people and wounding more than 400 others.
The bombings marked the deadliest single attack in Kabul since the Taleban were ousted from power in a 2001 US-led invasion. The killings sparked an avalanche of global condemnation, with the United Nations labelling the direct assault on civilians a "war crime".
The Taleban, who are in the middle of their annual summer offensive and are more powerful than Daesh, have so far not officially commented on the Ghor killings.
The militant group, which has stepped up nationwide assaults on the Western-backed government, is not generally known to launch attacks directly targeting civilians.


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