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Taliban clash with Daesh over Afghan recruitment

Clashes between militants in western Afghanistan leave at least 27 dead

Taliban clash with Daesh over Afghan recruitment

by Zabihullah Tamanna

KABUL, Afghanistan 

Heavy fighting has broken out between the Taliban and Daesh in western Afghanistan, the country’s military said on Monday.

The fighting, which saw at least 15 Daesh and 12 Taliban militants killed on Sunday, began after Daesh insisted that local Taliban elements declare their allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Iraqi leader of Daesh.

Gen. Asadullah Kohistani, Farah province’s Afghan National Army commander, said Daesh attacked Taliban-controlled territory in Khaki Safed district but were repelled by Taliban fighters.

He said Daesh suffered at least 15 fatalities and 13 wounded, adding that the Taliban had captured another 12 Daesh militants, including four Uzbek women.

“Based on our intelligence reports, at least 12 Taliban militants were also killed and seven others were wounded in the clash, which began on Sunday evening,” Kohistani told Anadolu Agency.

The security forces were not involved in the battle. “It is a remote and mountainous area, so it was difficult to move our forces by ground,” Kohistani said. “We have asked central government to provide us with air support.”

He added: “Taliban and Daesh, both are our enemies. But now [the] Taliban has to fight on two fronts.”

A spokesman for the Taliban group was not immediately available for comment.

According to Afghan officials, Daesh and the Taliban declared war after Daesh, which holds large parts of Iraq and Syria, began trying to recruit young men in areas traditionally seen as Taliban strongholds.

Daesh announced its presence in Afghanistan last year after proclaiming a caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

Last week, the Taliban and Daesh fought in two districts in eastern Nangarhar province, leaving several militants, including three Taliban commanders, dead.

Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar told lawmakers earlier this month that Daesh was trying to gain a foothold in Afghanistan’s lucrative opium market.

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