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Dozens Of Suspected IS Militants Killed In Afghanistan

June 25, 2016

Dozens of suspected Islamic State (IS) militants have been killed in fighting in eastern Afghanistan.

At least 40 suspected IS fighters were killed in clashes with Afghan security forces on June 24 in the eastern province of Nangarhar, located along the volatile border with Pakistan.

A statement from the Nangarhar governor's office on June 25 added that eight civilians were also killed, including four children and three women.

Two Afghan security force personnel were also killed in the fighting in the Kot district.

The statement added that "there is no fighting in the area at the moment."

Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for the Nangarhar provincial governor, said IS militants had attacked several checkpoints in Kot district.

Khogyani said the extremists had also burned down 25 houses in the district.

The clashes in Nangarhar come as militant attacks against both Afghan security forces and civilians have escalated across the country as part of the insurgents' summer offensive.

Over the past year, the IS group has battled the Taliban in Nangarhar and gained a foothold in the region.

The local IS affiliate is mainly made up of former Taliban fighters disillusioned by the group's failure to overthrow the government despite a 15-year insurgency.

U.S. forces have been concentrating more drone strikes in the eastern region since the middle of last year.

In March, President Ashraf Ghani said that IS militants were "on the run" in eastern Afghanistan.

In January, the United States expanded its air strikes against IS militants in Afghanistan since President Barack Obama granted commanders broader authority to target the group there.

Concerned about the group's increasingly global reach, Obama granted the U.S. military broad authority to strike the militants.

U.S. military spokesman Brigadier General Wilson Shoffner said in January that there were some 1,000 to 3,000 IS members in eastern Afghanistan and the group was attempting to establish a base of operations in Nangarhar.

With reporting by dpa, AP, Khaama, and ToloNews

Source: islamic-state-militants-killed/27820510.html

Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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