FIERCE fighting in Afghanistan between Taliban guerillas and Isis terrorists was complicated yesterday by military plans to drive both from Nangarhar province.
Nangarhar provincial governor’s spokesman Attahullah Khogyani said an operation involving air and ground forces had begun to eliminate both insurgent groups from the area.
He said two days of fighting had displaced hundreds of families from villages in Khogyani and Sherzad districts.
Six civilians were wounded and there were reports of dozens of casualties among the insurgents, Mr Khoygani said.
“The local government officials have already started emergency assistance to the internally displaced people including cash, tents, food items and non-food items,” he added.
Sherzad, Khogyani and Hasarak districts in Nangarhar are a strategic gateway to neighbouring Logar province and the capital Kabul. In April, the US Air Force dropped a massive-ordnance air-blast (Moab) bomb on an Isis tunnel complex in the mountains in Nangarhar.
It was the first time the huge conventional bomb — with a yield equivalent to 11 tons of TNT — had been used in combat. It followed US President Donald Trump’s delegation of counterterrorist operation authority to his generals.
Isis’s eastern franchise, Islamic State Khorasan Province, announced itself in January 2015 and has grown stronger over the past year.
In a separate incident in Logar province, 11 civilians were wounded, two critically, when a suicide bomber struck in provincial capital Puli Alim.
Provincial governor’s spokesman Salim Saleh said the bomber, on foot, had targeted the provincial deputy police chief’s motor convoy as it was passing a bazaar. The officer escaped unharmed.