The Afghan Taliban militant group has given Daesh a blow in the western province of Farah after days of heavy fighting which left tens of militants of both sides dead or wounded, Afghan officials said on Monday.
According to Farah province`s spokesman for the Afghan National Army, Mohammad Haneef Rezaee, the heavy fighting broke out between Taliban militants andDaesh fighters after the later insisted that Talibanelements declare their allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Iraqi leader of Daesh.
On May 29, Daesh operatives had to retreat from Khak Safid district to mountains of Anar Dara district after clashes with local Taliban which left 27 dead including 15 Daesh elements and 12 Taliban militants.
“On Saturday afternoon, Taliban militants launched a coordinated attack on Daesh forces in order to retrieve their lost territories in Anar Dara district,” Rezaee told Anadolu Agency. “Heavy losses were inflicted on both sides”.
At least 15 Daesh fighters including their commander, Sayed Mohammad Hussaini, were killed while 12 others were wounded.
The fighting ended on Sunday evening after Taliban militants captured another Daesh commander, Abdul Razaq Mehdi, along with 11 other fighters in the northern part of Anar Dara district, which shares a border with Iran.
“Abdul Razaq Mehdi, a Daesh logistician […] was known as backbone of Daesh movement in western Afghanistan,” Rezaee added. “At least 41 Daesh fighters surrendered to the Taliban while some others have escaped to neighboring districts,”.
“Based on our intelligence reports, at least five Taliban militants were also killed during the clash and nine others were wounded,” he said.
On Saturday, the Afghan air force conducted several raids on hideouts of Taliban and Daesh insurgents in Farah killing at least 16, according to observers.
The Afghan military`s ground forces were not involved in the battle. “We avoided involvement in the clash. Our participation would unite them rather than weaken them,” Rezaee Said
Farah is a strategically important province bordering the Helmand province to the east and Iran to the west. Daesh established a military training camp in Khak Safid district of the province last year.
“The time has come to take advantage of the fighting between the Taliban and Daesh,” retired army officer, Gen. Mohammad Ali told Anadolu Agency. “The Afghan government can`t sit and watch who is the winner in this bloody game.”
“I can’t imagine that day the Daesh emerging the winner on the battleground,” he added.
According to Afghan officials, Daesh and the Taliban started fighting 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.
Taliban group has slammed Daesh as being extreme, but despite that it has witnessed some of its fighters decamping to the latter.
Last week, the Taliban and Daesh fought in five 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 Daeshwas trying to gain a foothold in Afghanistan’s lucrative opium market.
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