Self-proclaimed fighters from ISIS have for the first time launched coordinated attacks on police checkpoints in an eastern Afghan province, officials said on Sunday.
The raids on eight to 10 police posts began early on Sunday, Haji Ghalib, said governor of Achin district in Nangarhar province, giving no casualty figures. “This is the first time that Daesh fighters have launched coordinated attacks on police checkpoints in Nangarhar,” he said.
Daesh is an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State (ISIS) group, which controls wide swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria. The attacks in Achin were confirmed by the border police commander in eastern Afghanistan, Mohammad Ayoub Hussainkhail.
They came a day after a UN report warned that ISIS was making inroads in Afghanistan, winning over a growing number of sympathisers and recruiting followers in 25 of the country’s 34 provinces. Afghan security forces told UN sanctions monitors that about 10% of the Taliban insurgency are IS sympathisers, according to the report by the UN’sAl Qaeda monitoring team.
The jihadist group has been trying to establish itself in Afghanistan and challenging the Taliban on their own turf. Some Taliban insurgents, particularly in the restive eastern provinces of Kunar and Nangarhar, have adopted the IS flag to re-brand themselves as a more lethal force as NATO combat troops depart after 14 years of war.