ISLAMABAD: Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban killed eight Islamic State militants involved in an attack on Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul last month and arrested nine others in a series of raids targeting key figures in a spate of attacks in Kabul, a government spokesperson said Thursday.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman for the Taliban government, said the raids in the capital city and western Nimroz province on Wednesday targeted IS militants who organised recent attacks on Kabul’s Longan Hotel, Pakistan’s embassy and the military airport.
Slain IS fighters also included foreign nationals, and seven others were arrested in Kabul, while a separate operation in western Nimroz province resulted in two more IS arrests, he said.
Islamic State had claimed responsibility for an attack on Pakistan’s embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul on December 2 in which a security guard from Pakistan Army was wounded by gunfire.
Islamabad called the attack an attempt to assassinate its head of mission, Ubaid ur-Rehman Nizamani, who was unhurt.
Islamic State claimed the attack was carried out by two of its members armed with “medium and sniper weapons” and was targeting Nizamani and his guards who were present in the courtyard of the embassy.
On Thursday, Mujahid provided details of an operation the Afghan forces carried out against the militant group involved in the attack. He added the outfit also tried to target Chinese nationals and others in his country.
“These members had a main role in the attack on the Chinese hotel and paved the way for foreign IS members to come to Afghanistan,” Mujahid said in a tweet.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing near a checkpoint at the Afghan capital’s military airport Sunday. IS said that attack was carried out by the same militant who took part in the Longan Hotel assault in mid-December.
The regional affiliate of the Islamic State group — known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province and a key rival of the Taliban — has increased its attacks in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in 2021. Targets have included Taliban patrols and members of Afghanistan’s Shi’ite minority.
IS published a photo of the attacker, identifying him as Abdul Jabbar, saying he withdrew safely from the attack on the hotel after he ran out of ammunition. It added he detonated his explosives-laden vest targeting the soldiers gathered at the checkpoint.
Mujahid said light weapons, hand grenades, mines, vests and explosives were confiscated by the Taliban’s security forces during the raids on an IS hideout in the Shahdai Salehin neighbourhood. Local residents reported sounds of several explosions and an hours-long gun battle.
The Taliban swept across the country in August 2021, seizing power as US and NATO forces were in the last weeks of their final withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of war.__Pakistan Today