IS fighters surrender to Afghan forces after Taliban assault

August 01, 2018 - 4:22 am

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — More than 150 Islamic State fighters surrendered to Afghan government forces on Wednesday in the face of an onslaught by the Taliban in the northern Jawzjan province, officials said.

Gen. Faqir Mohammad Jawzjani, the provincial police chief, said 152 fighters surrendered, including Habib-ul Rahman, a senior IS leader in northern Afghanistan. Abdul Hai Hayat, the head of the provincial council, said they surrendered after the Taliban flooded reinforcements into two districts in recent weeks.

The Taliban and IS are both battling to overthrow the Western-backed government and impose a harsh form of Islamic rule, but are fiercely divided over leadership, ideology and tactics. The Taliban said in a statement that they had killed dozens of IS fighters and captured more than 130 in Jawzjan, adding that 17 Taliban militants were killed and 13 wounded.

In a separate development, the U.N. mission to Afghanistan said an employee of the International Organization of Migration was among those killed and another was wounded in a coordinated attack on a refugee and repatriation center in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Tuesday. The U.N. condemned the attack, which killed a total of 15 people and wounded another 15.

The U.N. said in a statement that the employee who was killed was a 22-year-old woman whose husband had died in a bombing in Kabul three years earlier. It said she leaves behind a six-year-old daughter who is "now an orphan."

No one immediately claimed Tuesday's attack, but both the Taliban and the Islamic State group carry out near-daily attacks in the Nangarhar province, of which Jalalabad is the capital.

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