Surrender of 200 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan raises question of who gets credit

by WorldTribune Staff, August 2, 2018

More than 200 Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists who had been engaged in intense fighting with the Taliban ended up surrendering to the Afghan army.

Reports on the ground differ on why the fighters chose to surrender.

ISIS fighters surrender to Afghan forces in Jowzjan Province on Aug. 1. / RFE/RL

Some say the jihadists surrendered to Afghan forces because they did not want to be captured by the Taliban.

A spokesman for the Afghan ministry of defense, however, said the fighters surrendered due to an Afghan army onslaught.

Among those who surrendered were the leader of the Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K), Habib Rahman, and his deputy, according to the local Jowzjan provincial government.

The U.S. military is assisting Afghan forces fighting IS-K in the country’s east.

Mufti Nehmatullah, the IS-K deputy leader in the north, said the jihadists surrendered because “we were tired of fighting and pressure was on us from both sides,” an Aug. 2 report by WTVA news said. He added that the Taliban repeatedly asked the fighters to join them but “we chose to join Afghan security forces rather than the Taliban.”

Provincial police chief Faqeer Mohammad Jawzjani told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty RFE/RL that the main ISIS stronghold in northern Afghanistan was now under the control of the Taliban.

“The evil phenomenon of Daesh has completely been eliminated and people have been freed from its tortures in Jowzjan Province,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement, using an Arabic acronym for the IS group.

Jowzjan Province’s police deputy chief, Abdul Hafeez Khashi, said that fighting between ISIS and the Taliban broke out in the area late on July 31 and was still under way.

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