Bloody clashes between two rival Taliban factions continued for a second day on Tuesday in the Shindand district of western Herat province, with both sides losing at least 30 fighters, local officials said.
The clashes between fighters loyal to Taliban’s supreme leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour and a splinter group led by Mullah Mohammad Rasool broke out on Monday and were still ongoing, the provincial government spokesman said.
Jilani Farhad said initial information showed 30 militants had been killed and another 20 wounded during the clashes.
Herat police spokesman Abdul Rauf Ahmadi told Pajhwok Afghan News the clashes in Zerkoh area were between commander Mullah Samad aligned to Mansour and Mullah Nangyalai loyal to Rasool.
Ahmadi said the clashes broke out after two men of Mullah Samad were killed in a bomb blast. “The clashes are still ongoing and security forces have adopted their own measures,” the police official said.
Gen. Akhtar Mohammad Hamdam, the 207 Zafar Military Corps first brigade commander in Herat, said fierce clashes were underway between the two Taliban groups in Ghodal, Karim Khan, Kanjak Qala and Faramkan areas.
More fighters from southern Helmand, western Farah and Nimroz provinces had arrived in Shindand to reinforce their respective comrades, Hamdam said.
Mullah Rasool served as governor of Nimruz province during the Taliban’s reign. His group reportedly identifies itself as the “High Council of Afghanistan Islamic Emirate.”
Hamdam said nearly 400 fighters were taking part in the clashes. He said security forces had taken their own measures to ensure security in Shindand district.
The two groups had previously clashed in the same district about three months ago, leaving many dead and wounded on both sides, but they then entered a truce brokered by a number of influential Taliban leaders.
By Storai Karimi
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