IS kid­naps, kills seven in south­ern Afghanistan

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

KAN­DA­HAR: Is­lamic State mil­i­tants kid­napped and killed seven peo­ple, in­clud­ing three women, in the south­ern prov­ince of Zabul, a po­lice of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day, amid heavy fight­ing in the re­gion be­tween the group and Tal­iban in­sur­gents. Groups as­so­ci­ated with Is­lamic State have made grow­ing in­roads in Afghanistan in re­cent years, at­tract­ing fight­ers and sup­port away from dis­en­chanted mem­bers of the Tale­ban.

They have been bat­tling gov­ern­ment forces and the Tal­iban in a chal­lenge for supremacy of the Is­lamist in­sur­gency, and its rise has caused alarm out­side Afghanistan, with US com­man­ders cit­ing the move­ment as a rea­son to de­lay troop with­drawals. Ghu­lam Ji­lani Farahi, a deputy po­lice chief in Zabul, said po­lice found the vic­tims, who were ab­ducted on Oct 1 from Rasani vil­lage in the Ge­lan dis­trict of the neigh­bor­ing Ghazni prov­ince.

“Daesh fight­ers bru­tally killed th­ese peo­ple and their dead bod­ies have been car­ried to Shah Joi dis­trict hospi­tal,” Farahi said by tele­phone, us­ing the lo­cal name for the Is­lamic State.

The vic­tims were mem­bers of the Hazara eth­nic group, Farahi said, adding that po­lice were in­ves­ti­gat­ing. Pho­tos seen by Reuters showed their throats were cut.

The killings un­der­score the ex­tent of vi­o­lence di­rected at civil­ians as se­cu­rity in Afghanistan de­te­ri­o­rates. Heavy fight­ing be­tween mil­i­tants from the two groups was on­go­ing in three other dis­tricts in the prov­ince, with 60 Is­lamic State fight­ers and 15 Tale­ban killed, Farahi said.

It was not pos­si­ble for Reuters to ver­ify the re­port. The Tale­ban is mak­ing gains 14 years on from the US in­va­sion that ousted it from power af­ter the Sept. 2001 at­tacks on US land­marks. Afghan na­tional forces, who took over from in­ter­na­tional troops af­ter NATO ended most com­bat op­er­a­tions last year, have strug­gled to con­tain the spread­ing in­sur­gency and re­main re­liant on its al­lies for air and lo­gis­ti­cal sup­port.

Last month, in a show of its grow­ing strength, the Tale­ban seized the key north­ern city of Kun­duz and held it for three days. US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s de­ci­sion to scrap plans for a ma­jor re­duc­tion in US forces next year was greeted with re­lief by the ad­min­is­tra­tion in Kabul, which had feared be­ing aban­doned by its most pow­er­ful ally. — Reuters

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