Taliban launch operation against ISIS-K in southern Afghanistan

A member of the Taliban intelligence agency said at least three civilians were killed in the operation. PHOTO: AFP

KANDAHAR (AFP) - The Taliban has launched a crackdown on suspected Islamic State hideouts in southern Afghanistan, officials said on Monday (Nov 15), following an increase in bloody attacks by the group in recent weeks.

The operation against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria - Khorasan (ISIS-K) - the local chapter of the militant group - started at around midnight in at least four districts of Kandahar province and continued through Monday morning, Taliban provincial police chief Abdul Ghafar Mohammadi said.

"So far, four Daesh (ISIS-K) fighters have been killed and 10 arrested... One of them blew himself up inside a house," he said.

A member of the Taliban intelligence agency who declined to be named said at least three civilians were killed in the operation.

Local media quoted a Taliban official as saying there had also been a blast in a western suburb of Kabul on Monday morning, with no casualties.

In the three months since the Taliban came to power, ISIS-K has been active in Jalalabad, Kunduz, Kandahar and Kabul.

Last month, the group claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack on a Shi'ite mosque in Kandahar that killed at least 60 people and injured scores more.

That attack came a week after another deadly mosque blast claimed by ISIS-K in northern Kunduz province killed more than 60 people.

The group on Sunday claimed responsibility for a bomb that destroyed a minibus in Kabul at the weekend killing a well-known local journalist and up to two others.

ISIS-K boasted it had killed or injured "20 Shi'ite apostates" in the incident.

Earlier this month, ISIS-K fighters raided the city's National Military Hospital, killing at least 19 people and injuring more than 50 others.

The group has also claimed several attacks in the city of Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province and a hotbed of ISIS-K activity.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.