Kandahar – The Taliban said on Monday at least four Islamic State (IS) operatives and two civilians were killed in an operation on the group’s hideouts in southern Afghanistan after a recent increase in bloody attacks.
The operation against Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) – the local chapter of the militant group – started around midnight in at least four districts of Kandahar province and continued through Monday morning, Taliban provincial police chief Abdul Ghafar Mohammadi told AFP.
“So far, four Daesh (IS) militants have been killed and ten arrested… one of them blew himself up inside a house,” he said.
A Taliban official later tweeted that three IS operatives were killed and two civilians ‘martyred’ in the operation.
There was no explanation for the disparity.
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, IS-K has been active in Jalalabad, Kunduz, Kandahar and Kabul.
Last month the group claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack on a Shiite 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 IS-K in northern Kunduz province killed over 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.
The attack happened on Saturday in Kabul’s Dasht-e-Barchi suburb, an area dominated by members of the mostly Shiite Hazara community, which for years has been the target of violence by IS.
Islamic State-Khorasan claimed the attack in a statement on its Telegram channels.
Hamid Seighani, a well-known Afghan journalist who worked for the Ariana News television network, died in the blast.
IS-K boasted it had killed and injured ‘20 Shiite apostates’ including a journalist, saying it had placed bombs on buses.
Since the Taliban returned to power on August 15, dozens of bombs have been set off in eastern Nangarhar province – a hotbed of IS activity – but Kabul has largely escaped such violence.
Earlier this month Islamic State-Khorasan militants 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 IS-K activity.