Heavy fighting between ISIL militants and government security forces has claimed dozens of lives in eastern Afghanistan
Heavy fighting between ISIL militants and government security forces has claimed dozens of lives in eastern Afghanistan, officials said Sunday.
In recent months insurgents claiming allegiance to ISIL had largely appeared to be bottled up in a mountainous area along the border with Pakistan under threat of US airstrikes.
The latest attacks indicate the group remains a potent threat to a government already battling an insurgency dominated by the rival Taliban.
At least a dozen Afghan security forces and civilians had been killed, with another 18 wounded, Nangarhar province governor Saleem Khan Kunduzi said in a statement.
Local officials claimed more than 100 ISIL fighters had been killed in fighting in Nangarhar over the past three days, although exact figures varied and could not be independently verified.
"There is no doubt that Daesh do not respect anyone," Kunduzi said, using a common term for ISIL. "They kill people, regardless of whether they're a child or a woman. They burn down madrasas, mosques and schools."
As many as 25 homes had been burned down in Kowt district, and five civilians were reported kidnapped, Nangarhar officials said.
Hundreds of police and soldiers are engaged in the area with reinforcements on the way, provincial police chief Zarawar Zahid said.