KABUL: The Taliban said on Thursday they had killed 11 Daesh militants and arrested seven during overnight raids in Kabul and two other provinces.
Sounds of explosions rang out in the Afghan capital on Wednesday evening in what the chief spokesman of the Taliban administration, Zabihullah Mujahid, said hours later was part of an operation targeting “a dangerous and significant network of Daesh” that was behind recent high-profile attacks in Kabul.
Mujahid said in a statement that the militants had “organized and carried out attacks on Langan Hotel, the airport and the Pakistani embassy in Kabul, and were still planning attacks on some other important places.”
In the past few weeks, a regional affiliate of Daesh — known as Islamic State Khorasan Province, or ISIS-K — claimed responsibility for a Dec. 2 attack on the Pakistani embassy in what officials in Islamabad said was an attempt to assassinate the country’s top envoy in Afghanistan.
On Dec. 11, Daesh gunmen stormed a hotel that caters to Chinese businessmen in central Kabul. The hours-long attack left the assailants dead and another 21 people wounded, including two foreigners.
On Jan. 2, a Daesh-claimed explosion outside the Kabul military airport caused multiple casualties among Taliban security forces.
The operations on Wednesday night targeted the militants in two areas of Kabul, in one location of Zaranj, the capital of southwestern Nimroz province, and in eastern Nangarhar province.
In Kabul and Nimroz, “eight Daesh, including foreign nationals were killed and seven were arrested alive,” Mujahid said, adding that large numbers of weapons and explosives were seized from the scene.
In a tweet posted hours after his initial statement, the spokesman added that the operation in Nangahar saw three militants killed, including a Daesh leader known as Musa.
Officials at the Ministry of Interior did not respond to requests for comment on whether Wednesday’s raids were a new operation to counter the Daesh threat in the country.
Hamza Momen Hakimi, professor of law and political science at Salam University in Kabul, told Arab News that they were “counterattacks and operations by the Taliban forces to control these attacks.”
A surge in Deash attacks has been seen as the group’s attempts to further destabilize the country, and undermine its already battered economy, in the wake of the US and several international organizations placing it under sanctions when the Taliban took control in August 2021.
“The growing sequence of attacks by ISIS shows that the operational power of this group is increasing daily, which seems to be impossible without external aid and support,” Hakimi said.
“Whether it’s on civilians, like in mosques and educational centers, or on political and highly guarded places like the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defense and other places that they have targeted in the past few months ... These operations and these attacks are targeting the stability and peace in Afghanistan.”