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Taliban says ISIS cell destroyed after mosque attack in Kabul

Afghanistan: Suspected IS attack on a mosque in Kabul kills five. (file)

Kabul:

The Taliban said on Monday it had destroyed an ISIS cell in the Afghan capital, hours after a suspected ISIS attack on a mosque killed five people.

The Taliban’s chief spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the fighters carried out the operation north of Kabul on Sunday evening.

“As a result of the operation, which was very decisive and successful, the IS center was completely destroyed and all IS members were killed,” the Mujahid said on Twitter.

Witnesses and AFP journalists heard explosions and gunfire in the capital at the time of the raid, and photos posted on social media showed a large explosion and fire at the scene.

Abdul Rahman, a Kabul resident and government employee, told AFP that “a large number” of Taliban special forces attacked at least three houses in his neighbourhood.

“The fighting continued for several hours,” he said, adding that the sound of weapons kept him awake all night.

“They said they were chasing Daesh (IS) fighters in the area,” Rahman said.

“I don’t know how many were killed or arrested but the fighting was intense.”

The operation came hours after a deadly attack targeting a prayer ceremony at the Idgah mosque in memory of the mother of Taliban spokesman Mujahid, who died last week.

A government cultural commission official, who asked not to be named, told AFP that five people were killed and 11 wounded, with the casualties including both civilians and Taliban members.

“We have also arrested three people in connection with the blast,” he said.

According to the official, the device was placed at the entrance of the mosque and detonated as mourners expressed their condolences to the Mujahid and his family.

Mujahid told AFP on Monday that an investigation was still ongoing but “preliminary information suggests that Daesh-linked groups may have carried out the attack.”

The Taliban and the Afghanistan branch of IS – known as ISIS-Khorasan Province or IS-K – are both radical Sunni Islamist terrorist groups.

But they differ on issues of religion and strategy, which has led to a bloody battle between the two.

(This story has not been edited by NB staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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