Taliban destroy Islamic State cell in Kabul after deadly mosque attack
The Taliban said on Monday they had destroyed an Islamic State cell in the Afghan capital, hours after a suspected IS attack on a mosque killed at least five people.
The Taliban overran Kabul seven weeks ago and have set up an interim Afghan government, but still face attacks from the regional branch of the Islamic State.
The Taliban’s chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid 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.
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.
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, adding, “I don’t know how many were killed or arrested but the fighting was intense.”
Meanwhile, more than 100 students, alumni and faculty members of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music have been flown out of Kabul on their way to Portugal, where the government has agreed to grant them asylum, the institute’s director said on Monday.
They were on board a flight carrying 235 people out of Kabul’s international airport to Qatar on Sunday.