ISLAMABAD (AP) — An overnight raid by Taliban forces in Afghanistan’s northern Balkh province killed six members of the extremist Islamic State group, a Taliban spokesman said on Tuesday.
The regional affiliate of the IS group — known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province — has been the key rival of the Taliban since their takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021. The militant group has increased its attacks, targeting both Taliban patrols and members of Afghanistan’s Shiite minority.
According to Mohammad Asif Waziri, a spokesman for the police chief in Balkh, the operation late Monday night targeted an IS hideout in Nahri Shahi district and six members of the militant group were killed.
The Taliban swept across Afghanistan in August 2021, seizing power as U.S. and NATO forces were withdrew after 20 years of war.
The international community has not recognized the Taliban government, wary of the harsh measures they have imposed since their takeover — including restricting rights and freedoms, especially for of women and minorities.
In March, a member of the Islamic State group carried out a suicide bombing that killed three people, including Daud Muzmal, the Taliban’s appointed governor for Balkh. Muzmal is one of the most senior Taliban officials to have been killed since they took power in mid-August 2021.