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Fresh Attacks by Taliban, IS Kill 19 Afghan Forces, Civilians

By Ayaz Gul April 23, 2018

Authorities in Afghanistan say the latest Taliban and Islamic State attacks have killed 19 people, mostly government security forces.

Taliban insurgents attacked a registration center for potential voters late Sunday in the northwestern Badghis province, killing nine Afghan National Army soldiers and wounding two others.

A senior police official for provincial security, Ghulam Sarwar Haidari, told VOA the slain personnel were deployed at the center to beef up its security in the wake of a recent attack on the building that killed a police guard.

Hadiari said that overnight insurgent attacks on security outposts in another district of Badghis killed seven Afghan security forces.

A Taliban spokesman said it carried out the attacks, claiming 16 government troops were killed.

Separately, officials confirmed Monday that militants linked to IS's Afghan branch, known as Khorasan Province or IS-K, have beheaded three brothers in the volatile eastern border province of Nangarhar.

Provincial government spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told VOA the overnight slaughter was carried out in the Chaparhar district where IS-K maintains its bases. The victims included a medical doctor, a vaccine campaigner and a medical college student.

Khogyani said that the father of the slain men, also a medical doctor, was recently beheaded by Islamic State.

The violence comes as officials have increased the death toll to nearly 60 from Sunday's IS-plotted suicide bombing at an election identification card distribution center in Kabul.

IS is locally known as Daesh and launched its extremist activities in Afghanistan, as well as neighboring Pakistan, in early 2015 after establishing bases in Nangarhar.

The group has since extended its extremist activities and has regularly carried out attacks in Kabul, mostly against gatherings and worship places of the minority Shia Hazara community.

Sunday's IS suicide bombing in the Afghan capital also took place at an election identification card distribution center in a Hazara-dominated part of the city. The powerful blast killed at least 60 people, including women, and wounded more than 120 others.

The bombing was the latest in a series of raids on election-related facilities in Afghanistan since early this month when the Independent Election Commission, IEC, launched its voters' registration process at provincial headquarters across the war-hit country.

IEC has set October 20 for the long-delayed Afghan parliamentary and district council elections, and the voter registration process will allow authorities to hold polls on the basis of formal voters' lists for the first time in the country's history.

The Taliban has urged Afghans to boycott the elections, rejecting them as a "fake" process stage-managed by the United States to bring to power a government of its own choice.

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