Afghan officials say they have taken control of jail in Jalalabad, Nangarhar, which was attacked by Islamic State militants. Afghan security forces achieved this after a day of bloody clashes.
At least 10 ISIL fighters involved in the assault were also killed while trying to free their comrades from the prison in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, said Ajmal Omar, a provincial council member.
The attack underscored that the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan is still a formidable presence, and it highlighted the challenges ahead as U.S. and NATO forces begin to withdraw following Washington’s peace deal with the Taliban.
Notably, the attack was aimed at freeing the jihadists from prison. According to local media, the operation also resulted in the release of four or five key senior jihadists of ISIS fighters. It is said that the presence of ISIS fighters in Nangarhar province is very high but there are no reliable statistics on the number of these fighters in this province.
Afghanistan has seen a recent surge in violence, with most attacks claimed by IS militants. U.S. and Afghan forces — along with the Taliban — have pounded IS positions.
While the group’s strength might have been reduced, analysts say it is still able to stage such high-profile attacks such as the jailbreak.
While the Islamic State group has seen its so-called caliphate stretching across Iraq and Syria eliminated after years of fighting, the group has continued its attacks in Afghanistan. The extremists also have battled the Taliban, which was overthrown by the U.S. in a 2001 American-led invasion following the Sept. 11 attacks.
A United Nations report released last month estimated the membership of IS in Afghanistan at 2,200. While its leadership has been depleted, IS still counts among its leaders a Syrian national Abu Said Mohammad al-Khorasani.
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