(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
The Taliban Government of Afghanistan announced on 19 March that its security forces launched “a crushing operation” against the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K) hideouts inside of the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif, reportedly killing five members of the militant group.
The spokesperson of the Taliban government, Zabihullah Mujahid, disclosed that several members of the militant group were killed during raids in three districts of the Balkh province on the night of 18 March. The Taliban security forces proceeded to confiscate the militants’ ammunition and weapons subsequent to the brief firefight.
Mujahid added that one member of the national security forces had been injured during the military operation.
The provincial police of the Balkh district told Pajhwok Afghan News that three ISIS-K holdouts were destroyed and confirmed that five members of the militant group were killed and said to be Tajik and Uzbek nationals.
This operation occurred a week after ISIS-K claimed responsibility for an attack on the Tebyan Cultural Center, located in the same area, which killed and injured several journalists.
Last month, Zamir Kabulov, Moscow’s presidential envoy to Kabul, claimed that Washington has been supporting ISIS-K.
This reveal came a day after Iran’s Press TV reported that according to Kabulov, the US has been reaching out to the Taliban’s opposition groups, such as ISIS-K, and secretly giving them money, as US planners “want to avenge their shameful military-political defeat in Afghanistan, and in retaliation, they do everything so that peace isn’t established in this troubled land.”
Afghanistan has been regularly targeted by ISIS-K since the Taliban seized power in August 2021. The Taliban quickly toppled the US-backed Afghan government in the wake of the US military’s pre-planned but chaotic withdrawal from the country the same month. However, it has had difficulty in providing security as a result of ISIS-K activity.
Meanwhile, the government of US President Joe Biden is still in the process of deciding whether to return half of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves, despite the war-torn country undergoing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.