Taliban claims fighters destroy ISIS cell after mosque attack in Kabul
While no one claimed Sunday’s bombing outside the Eid Gah Mosque, the suspicion quickly fell on the ISIS group.
Kabul: The Taliban on Monday claimed that they had destroyed an Islamic State affiliate’s hideout in the Afghan capital and killed several insurgents, hours after a suspected IS attack on a mosque killed five people and wounded a number of civilians.
While no one claimed Sunday’s bombing outside the Eid Gah Mosque which appeared to be the most serious attack in the Afghan capital since the withdrawal of US forces at the end of August, the suspicion quickly fell on the ISIS group. Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban's chief spokesman said fighters carried out the operation in the north of Kabul on Sunday evening.
"As a result of the operation, which was very decisive and successful, the IS centre was completely destroyed and all the IS members in it were killed," Mujahid said on Twitter.
Earlier, local media had reported heavy clashes in the area and residents contacted confirmed they had heard explosions and gunfire during the night. Witnesses and AFP journalists heard blasts and gunfire in the capital at the time of the raid, and images posted to social media showed a large explosion and a fire at the scene.
An Associated Press report stated that Taliban officials had gathered at the mosque to mourn the passing of Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid’s mother.
Kabul resident and government employee Abdul Rahaman told AFP that a "large number" of Taliban special forces attacked at least three houses in his neighbourhood.
"The fighting continued for several hours," he said, adding the sound of weapons kept him awake all night.
"They said they were after Daesh (IS) fighters in the area," Rahman said.
"I don't know how many were killed or arrested but the fighting was intense."
Though the Taliban who are also fighting the remnants of resistance forces in Panjshir region north of Kabul, have said they have almost complete control of the country. However, a string of smaller incidents in recent days in areas including Nangarhar on the border with Pakistan and Parwan north of Kabul and Sunday’s violence, have shown that security threats have not disappeared.