Kabul, June 23 : At least 35 Islamic State insurgents and 16 Taliban men were killed in clashes between Afghan Security Forces and the Taliban and IS in Kunar province, a spokesman for the Kunar provincial governor said on Sunday.
"The ongoing fighting has already displaced a lot of people," Sputnik International quotes Abdul Ghani Musamem as saying. Ministry of Defence spokesman Zubair Aref said, "We have actively engaged in fighting with both sides in Kunar. Forces will capture their controlled areas." This is the first time that the three have clashed in Kunar since the IS announced its presence in Afghanistan. The terror group tries to tighten its grip on the northeastern province, with the Taliban fighting to stop it from spreading.
With three armies fighting each other, the increased complexity of the war is bad news for civilians who have been the main victim of the decades-old struggle for power in the country. An army commander in Kunar said that the Afghan government was gearing up for mass displacement of civilians.
"We are equipping forces in many districts. We are not letting them [IS] build strongholds," the commander said on condition of anonymity. The IS, like Al-Qaeda, which has a longstanding presence in Kunar, has chosen to fight in the mountainous province, from where it can slip into northern Afghan provinces and central Asian states, a Kabul-based analyst said.
"It is an alarm for northern provinces. The Daesh can use Kunar to gain access to northern provinces and then can attack central Asian countries," Kabul Khan Tadbir said. Afghanistan has long been gripped by war and political instability, but the two main rivals, the Afghan government and the Taliban, have been making efforts toward achieving peace by holding indirect talks in Qatar. UNI