SHABARGHAN: Taliban destroyed Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) or Daesh command and control centre in the Darzab district of northern Jowzjan and captured more than 10 IS-K fighters, police confirmed Wednesday.
The Taliban launched massive offensives against IS-K bases in the Darzab and Qushtepa districts of Jowzjan province 25 days ago and were able to seized its command and control centre in Sradara area besides surrounding the Alqani and Mughal villages, said Maj. Muhammad Ismail, police chief of Darzab district.
The two villages fell to Taliban at approximately 4:00 a.m. (local time) Wednesday, he told Afghan Islamic Press (AIP), adding numerous IS-K fighters were captured by Taliban while some others surrendered to government.
“With the fall of these areas, the Daesh gunmen started surrendering [to government]. Twenty-six gunmen surrendered two days ago while more than 100 laid down arms Wednesday morning. Till so far, 200 persons have surrendered. Daesh general commander [in north] Maulvi Habibur Rahman, his deputy Mufti Niamat and another strong commander Mullah Sohbatullah are among them,” the district police chief said.
Reports suggested Mullah Sohbatullah was financial official of Daesh. He said the surrendering of Daesh also continued in other areas and those who laid down arms would be shifted to provincial capital Shabarghan.
Muhammad Raza Ghafoori, spokesman of Jowzjan governor, confirmed that 150 gunmen including Daesh military commander Habibur Rahman and his deputy surrendered to Afghan forces.
He said the IS-K fighters surrounded by Taliban or those escaped were surrendering to Afghan forces.
Afghan National Army 209th Shaheen Corps said more than 300 Daesh and Taliban fighters were killed and wounded during clashes over the past several days.
Local Taliban told AIP that they had seized 62 Daesh fighters including 21 fighters.
They said house-to-house search was underway to clear the area of Daesh.
Information collected by AIP suggested that IS-K’s Afghan fighters surrendered to government while their foreign associates, most of them Uzbeks, surrendered to Taliban
Taliban sources said some European militants hailing from France and Germany were also among those surrendered to Taliban, adding further investigations were underway.
Taliban also formally announced the elimination of IS-K movement in Jowzjan as their spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AIP that IS-K command and control centre in Sradara among all the areas of Darzab district were cleared of Daesh.
He said Taliban military units from Jowzjan, Sar-e-Pul and Faryab province took part in the offensive, adding 153 Daesh fighters were killed, more than 100 wounded and 134 others were seized by Taliban.
Mujahid conceded that 17 Taliban were also killed and 13 wounded during the clashes. He claimed that US aircrafts bombarded Taliban positions during the clashes to provide protection to Daesh but could not succeed.
The Taliban spokesman also warned other groups to stop fighting against Taliban otherwise they would meet the Daesh fate.
He said neither confirmed nor denied the presence of foreign fighters among those seized by Taliban, saying further details would be released later. Taliban sources in Jowzjan, meanwhile, said round 40 Taliban were killed and a large number more wounded in these clashes.
On July 17, Daesh conducted a suicide attack on the condolence ceremony of a Taliban fighter in Sayad district of Sara-e-Pul province, killing 15 Taliban.
The Daesh commander in northern Afghanistan, Maulvi Habibur Rahman, and his deputy Mufti Niamatulalh, are former Taliban but had links with Afghan government, especially General Abdul Rashid Dostam, 1st deputy Afghan president.
Maulvi Habibur Rahman succeeded Qari Hekmat, Daesh commander in northern Afghanistan after his death. Qari Hekmat was also former Taliban commander but later switched loyalties to Daesh.
The Taliban also eliminated Daesh centres from Alingar district of Laghman province in June and made the same attempt in Kunar but could not succeed there.
Similarly, the Taliban conducted operations against Daesh in Nangarhar time by time but failed to destabilize it there.