Taliban and IS are hardline Sunni Islamist groups, but they differ on the issues of religion and strategy, which has led to bloody fighting between the two.
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a series of bomb attacks in the city of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, the group’s Amaaq News Agency said on its Telegram channel on Sunday. Amaaq News Agency said that “three separate bomb attacks” targeting three “Taliban vehicles” in Jalalabad on Saturday, and another “bomb attack” Sunday on “a Taliban vehicle”. “More than 35 Taliban militia members were killed or wounded, in a series of explosions that took place,” it said.
Local media reported that a pickup truck carrying Taliban fighters was the target of a bomb in the eastern city of Jalalabad—the capital of Nangarhar province, the heartland of the Islamic State group’s Afghanistan branch—on Sunday. Witnesses also told local media that several wounded Taliban fighters were taken to hospital after the explosion, which one journalist said happened near an interchange for transport to and from Kabul. At least two people were killed on Saturday in a series of blasts in the area, the first deadly blasts since the last US forces withdrew from Afghanistan on August 30.
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The Taliban have not commented about the death toll in the city. Nangarhar, which borders Pakistan, is the only province where the Taliban are being targeted by IS after they recaptured Afghanistan in August. Some districts of Nangarhar and Kunar provinces were the heartlands of IS during the previous Afghan government and the gourd ruled those districts for five years. They were finally driven out by Afghan forces, the people uprising and the Taliban.
Both IS and the Taliban are hardline Sunni Islamist groups, but they differ on the issues of religion and strategy, which has led to bloody fighting between the two. The Taliban and IS were enemies before foreign troops left Afghanistan. The Taliban have focused on taking control of Afghanistan, while IS affiliates in Afghanistan and elsewhere call for global jihad. As the Taliban face major economic and security challenges in trying to govern Afghanistan, IS attacks will further complicate those efforts.
IS-K also claimed responsibility for a bloody attack that killed more than 160 Afghans and 13 US troops at Kabul airport at the end of August as tens of thousands tried to flee the Taliban.
(With agency inputs)