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Afghan forces 'obliterate' IS, after mass surrender of militants

Hundreds of IS Afghan militants have reportedly surrendered [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 November, 2019

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IS fighters have surrendered to the government in Afghanistan in droves, the president has claimed.
Hundreds of Islamic State group fighters in Afghanistan have surrendered over the past few weeks to government forces, the country's president said on Tuesday.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that his forces had "obliterated" IS, on the same day that a prisoner swap with the Taliban took place, leading to hopes that a peaceful resolution to the country's war could be on the cards.

"No one believed one year ago that we would stand up and today be saying we have obliterated Daesh," Ghani told a group of elders in the eastern Nangarhar province, an area that has witnessed endemic attacks by the group.

Ghani said that 600 IS fighters had surrendered to the government, along with their families.

"Now that Daesh [IS] militants have surrendered, I ask authorities to treat their families humanely," Ghani added, according to Reuters.
The militants were mostly from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asian countries, and surrendered due to airstrikes, financial problems, and low morale, the president claimed.

The Taliban dismissed the president's claims that the Afghan government were responsible for defeating IS, saying they were "absurd".

"Kabul admin had zero percent role in defeat of Daesh and the proud people of Nangarhar are witnesses," Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted.

"Kabul admin & their foreign backers created hurdles for Mujahidin in support for Daesh thus prolonging the operation. In the end, Daesh elements holed up & under siege of Mujahidin were rescued by #Kabul admin - a clear proof of their support & affinity towards this group," he claimed in another tweet.

IS are probably Afghanistan's most hardline militant group, targeting mostly civilians and government forces - including members of Afghanistan's Shia minority.

The announcement came on the same day that the Taliban released two western hostages, in exchange for three Taliban prisoners.




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