'Learned well from masters': Saleh says Taliban denying ISIS link is like Pak denial on Quetta Shura
Afghanistan's acting president Amrullah Saleh said on Friday that the Taliban denying links to the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist outfit is identical to Pakistan's denial on Quetta Shura, a militant organisation believed to have formed within the city in Balochistan soon after the fall of the previous Taliban regime in Afghanistan during late 2001. Noting that the "Talibs have learned very well from the master", the Afghan leader said that every piece of evidence that is currently in hand points to the fact that the ISIS in Khorasan, also known as ISIS-K, have their roots in the Taliban and the Haqqani network, particularly the ones operating in Kabul.
"Every evidence we have in hand shows that IS-K cells have their roots in Talibs and Haqqani network particularly the ones operating in Kabul," the acting president of Afghanistan wrote in a tweet from his official handle on Friday. "Talibs denying links with ISIS is identical/similar to denial of Pak on Quetta Shura. The Talibs have learned very well from the master."
At least 60 Afghans and at least 13 US service members were killed, while around 140 more turned up with serious injuries after a series of deadly blasts at Kabul in Afghanistan on Thursday night. The ISIS-K, known as the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), has claimed responsibility for the suicide attacks on the Kabul airport. The Islamic State said that a suicide bomber "managed to reach a large gathering of translators and collaborators with the American army at 'Baran Camp' near Kabul Airport and detonated his explosive belt among them, killing about 60 people and wounding more than 100 others, including Taliban fighters."
Reports said that ISIS-K, the regional affiliate of ISIS or Islamic State that is active in Afghanistan and Pakistan, had long planned attacks on American personnel and others. The outfit, which is believed to be far more radical than the Taliban, has carried out many attacks on civilian targets in the country in recent years.
The Taliban, however, have 'strongly condemned' the blasts outside the Kabul airport, seemingly denying any links with the radical outfit that carried out the attacks. In a statement, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said that the group had provided information to the American intelligence about a potential terror attack in works by the ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant), also known as the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or Daesh.
Suhail Shaheen, another spokesperson for the Taliban, said that the group was willing to take every step "to bring culprits to justice".