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Sunday, July 5, 2015

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Hekmatyar’s party to support ISIS in fight against Taliban


Khaama Press / July 5, 2015

Hezb-e-Islami party led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar announced support to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group affiliates in fight against the Taliban militants.

A statement was released by Hezb-e-Islami and urged the group’s followers to support the ISIS affiliates in the event tensions further escalated between the Taliban militants and affiliates of the ISIS group who were former members of the Taliban group.

The statement also added that the Hezb-e-Islami has an intense enmity with the Taliban group and communists along with Shura-e-Nizar.

No further elaboration was given regarding the communists, however Hezb-e-Islami’s remarks regarding Shura-e-Nizar were apparently a gesture towards the leaders of Jamiat Islami party.

Hezb-e-Islami is leading an anti-government militant group in Afghanistan and has been blacklisted by US Department of State.

The statement by Hezb-e-Islami comes as the Taliban group sent a letter to ISIS leader last month urging the rival jihadist group to stop recruiting in Afghanistan.

Taliban insisted that there is room for only “one flag, one leadership” in their fight to re-establish strict Islamist rule.

The letter was sent following heavy clashes between the Taliban militants and ISIS affiliates in eastern parts of the country, specifically in Nangarhar province.

From Taliban to IS, Afghan Fighters Pledge New Allegiance

Rahimgul Sarwan / VOA News / July 3, 2015

The Islamic State group appears to be attracting new followers in yet another country, with Afghan fighters raising the black flag in parts of Afghanistan's Nangarhar province.

Local authorities and civilians in Nangarhar say the Islamic State group has developed a strong presence in six districts of the province, displacing the once-dominant Islamic Emirate of the Taliban.

IS militants here declare their allegiance to the self-styled caliphate of Abubakar al-Baghdadi. They wave the IS banner and behead their enemies. Yet it's not known if they have direct relations with IS.

"They surfaced very quickly, emerging in areas where the Taliban were," said Zabihullah Zamarai, Nangahar provincial council member. "The Taliban have suffered a defeat. They are the Taliban's successors."

The battle for jihadi dominance continues Nangarhar's Bati Kot district. Its governor, Haji Ghalib Mujahid, heavily guarded after the Taliban killed 16 of his relatives last year, described a recent intra-Islamist battle.

"There was a heavy Taliban presence three weeks ago," he said. "IS fought them in an area called Daga, capturing and beheading five Taliban members. The Taliban killed two IS fighters. These people were with the Taliban. They've now raised the black flags of IS. Most of the fighters have joined IS."

IS has gained the allegiance of fighters through higher wages, its insistence on al-Baghdadi as a true, living caliph, and the lure of unbridled power. At an IS meeting in Bati Kot, IS stripped tribal elders of their authority and imposed bans, even on the use of snuff, on its residents.

Public calls for the government to crush this emerging threat are met by authorities' claims the situation is under control.

"We have complete equipment, supplies and personnel," said Mohammad Amin Mangal, Bati Kot district police chief.

An Afghan Local Police outpost in Bati Kot used to come under frequent attacks, police now say the attacks have dropped off as they’ve pushed back the Islamic State and other insurgent groups.

Afghanistan to investigate killing
of police personnel near Kabul

KABUL, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Afghan president on Sunday ordered an investigation into a Taliban deadly attack which killed more than 20 police personnel in eastern Wardak province.

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani issued a decree and assigned a high-ranking delegation to visit Jalrez district and conduct a thoroughly investigation into the latest incident there during which a number of Afghan Local Police (ALP) forces were killed and wounded, said an official statement issued here.

On Thursday, over 20 ALP members and two civilians were killed and two dozen police wounded after Taliban militant attacked security checkpoints in Jalrez district of Wardak province with Maidan Shar as its capital, 34 km west of Kabul.

The delegation was tasked to study in close coordination with provincial officials all factors and motives which led to the bloody incident and report to the president in earliest time, according to the statement.

The government established the ALP, or community police, in 2010 to protect villages and districts where army and police have limited presence.

The provincial council members blamed the provincial officials and security authorities for failing to respond into attack and negligence in sending reinforcement troops following the incident.

The casualties of Afghan soldiers and police have risen recently as the United States and NATO troops in Afghanistan have switched from combat to support role, namely training, advising and assisting Afghan forces since Jan. 1 this year.

Explosion in Kandahar city leaves 3 dead, 13 wounded

Khaama Press / July 5, 2015

At least three people were killed and thirteen others were wounded following an explosion in southern Kandahar city late on Sunday evening.

According to the local government officials, the incident took place in the 1st police district of the city after a motorcycle packed with explosives was detonated near the police check post.

The officials further added that the attack was apparently carried out by a suicide bomber which took place shortly after the iftar dinner.

The provincial police spokesman Zia Durani confirmed that a women and a member of the Afghan national security forces were among those who lost their lives in the attack.

He said thirteen others including two policemen and eleven civilians were wounded in the attack.

No group including the Taliban militants has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident but the local officials are blaming the Taliban group for the incident.

Kandahar is among the relatively volatile provinces in southern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militants are actively operating in its various districts and often carry out insurgency activities.

Afghan air force strikes kill 23 Taliban militants

Press TV / July 5, 2015

More than two dozen Taliban militants have been killed in airstrikes by the Afghan air force in Afghanistan’s northern province of Faryab near the border with Turkmenistan.

Major Raza Raza, a spokesman for the 209th Shahin Military Corps, said on Saturday that 23 members of the Taliban militant group were killed after Afghan combat helicopters carried out aerial attacks in the Dilbi district of Faryab Province.

He added that a number of foreign militants, including six Pakistanis and one Uzbek citizen, were among those killed in the strikes.

The Taliban, however, have rejected the reports.

Meanwhile, Afghan government forces killed a key Taliban militant commander in the western Herat Province on Saturday.

Herat provincial police chief Abdul Majid Rozi said Hajji Wazir, the Taliban commander in western Afghanistan, was killed during a raid on a house.

Rozi added that the slain Taliban commander was commanding some 500 militants, and his death could be a major setback to the Taliban wreaking havoc in Herat and adjacent provinces.

Afghanistan is gripped by insecurity years after the United States and its allies invaded the country in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. Even though the invasion overthrew the Taliban, many areas across Afghanistan still face violence.

US drone attacks claim 13 lives in E Afghanistan

Press TV / July 5, 2015

At least 13 people have been killed in the latest US assassination drone strikes in eastern Afghanistan, Press TV reports.

Afghan authorities said on Sunday that 13 people were killed in two separate air raids carried out the day before in the eastern provinces of Nangarhar and Kunar.

Local officials claimed that 12 of those killed in the drone strikes belonged to the Afghan Taliban militant group and one was a Pakistani militant.

The Taliban is yet to comment on the report.

The assaults come after another US drone attack targeted two residential buildings in the Lal Pur district of Nangarhar on June 30, killing at least 14 people and injuring more than a dozen others.

An aerial assault in the same province, which lies on the border with Pakistan, reportedly killed at least seven people on June 20.

The United States carries out targeted killings through drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia.

While Washington claims the targets of the attacks are militants, witnesses maintain that, in most cases, civilians have been the victims of the airstrikes.

Afghanistan faces a security challenge years after the United States and its allies invaded the country in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but many areas in the country are still witnessing violence and instability.

7 Pakistani Troops Killed in Bomb Attack, Firefight

Ayaz Gul / VOA News / July 5, 2015

ISLAMABAD - Military officials in Pakistan say a firefight with Islamist militants near the border with Afghanistan Sunday left four soldiers and 12 insurgents dead.

The army’s media wing says “fleeing terrorists also left behind 3 of their dead bodies."

The fighting occurred in the Dattakhel area of North Waziristan, a semi-autonomous tribal region where major counter-militancy army operations are under way.

Earlier, a roadside bomb in the same region killed three paramilitary soldiers and wounded six others. Officials say the attack in Raghzai village targeted a military convoy.

Pakistan’s military says the year-long counter-militancy campaign in Waziristan and surrounding areas has so far killed nearly 3,000 insurgents while more than 350 troops also died.

Army commanders say the offensive is now in its final stages and is trying to eliminate the remaining few militant pockets. But independent verification of the official claims is difficult to ascertain.

The operation is targeting the Pakistani Taliban, an alliance of extremist outfits waging a bloody insurgency against the state.

Army officials acknowledge that troops are meeting fierce resistance in the Shawal Valley of North Waziristan where fugitive commanders and fighters of the Afghan Taliban until recently were entrenched and organizing cross-border attacks.

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