Afghan Forces Kill Up to 50 IS Fighters

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN � Authorities in eastern Afghanistan say counterterrorism army operations have killed up to 50 Islamic State militants, including three senior commanders.

The overnight deaths occurred in the district of Achin, an IS stronghold in Nangarhar province near the border with Pakistan.

A regional military spokesman told VOA's Afghan service on Wednesday there were 12 foreign militants among the dead but gave no information about their nationalities.

IS has not yet responded to the official claims.

Afghan special forces, backed by air power and armed U.S. drones, have recently launched a major operation to clear several Nangarhar districts of IS extremists.

Afghan and U.S. commanders say that the offensive dubbed as Hamza has made significant advances, killing hundreds of loyalists of the Middle East-based terrorist group and destroying their bases. In March alone, U.S. airstrikes killed more than 200 IS fighters.

The U.S. military says that former members of the militant Pakistani Taliban have joined IS ranks in Afghanistan after fleeing military operations against their strongholds in Pakistan.

On Saturday, the U.S. military confirmed that one of its soldiers died as a result of wounds sustained during counter-IS operations in Nangarhar.

Separately, local media quoted a district governor as saying that clashes with Taliban insurgents Wednesday in the volatile southern Zabul province left an Afghan army battalion chief and one soldier dead.

The province borders Pakistan, and lately it has been the site of intense clashes between Afghan security forces and the Taliban.

Afghan officials reported earlier this month that an airstrike in the Shamulzayi district of Zabul destroyed a major Taliban training center, killing 18 suicide bombers and their eight Pakistani trainers.

Source: Voice of America