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More than 100 Islamic State fighters reported killed in Afghanistan

Afghan security forces launched a counterattack after the militants killed and abducted civilians in a province near the border with Pakistan.

by VICE News
Jun 26 2016, 2:10pm

Photo by Jawad Jalali/EPA

More than 100 Islamic State (IS) fighters in Afghanistan were reported killed over the weekend after security forces launched a counterattack against the group in a province near the border with Pakistan.

The militants attacked a town in the Kowt district of eastern Nangarhar province earlier this week, torching homes and local police posts. Multiple civilians, including children, were reported killed, and at least 30 people were abducted.

The Afghan government responded by deploying special forces backed by airstrikes to the area. Local officials and the Afghan interior ministry are reporting that as many as 100 IS fighters were either killed or injured during the counter-operation.

A local NGO reported that 131 IS fighters and 12 Afghan national security forces were killed in two days of fighting in Nangarhar. The same organization said that 10 civilians are still missing after the initial IS attack. Local officials confirmed to Khaama Press that women and children are among the village's dead and wounded.

Related: The US is reconsidering its plan to pull troops out of Afghanistan

"There is no doubt that Daesh do not respect anyone," Saleem Khan Kunduzi, Nangarhar's provincial governor said, using the Arabic acronym for IS. "They kill people, regardless of whether they're a child or a woman. They burn down madrasas, mosques, and schools."

Reuters reported that, in recent months, IS loyalists in Afghanistan seemed to be on the defensive, sheltering in mountainous areas along the border with Pakistan following a wave of US airstrikes.

But a recent uptick in attacks shows that the group remains a genuine threat to a government already embattled by an ongoing Taliban insurgency. The head of Afghanistan's civil society federation, Sediq Ansari, called for the suspension of local leaders during an event in Kabul on Sunday, accusing them of negligence in the face of IS.

"They should be accountable for every drop of blood that has been shed in Nangarhar so it becomes a lesson to other officials," he told reporters.

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Reuters contributed to this report