Ground operations, air strikes kill 72 IS fighters in E. Afghanistan

2016-06-25 13:18:36 GMT2016-06-25 21:18:36(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

KABUL, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Militants loyal to the hardliner Islamic State (IS) group have suffered major setback in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar as up to 72 of its fighters have been killed over the past two days, officials said on Saturday.

In the latest strike against the extremist group, 42 combatants were killed and 32 others injured as unmanned planes pounded their hideouts in the mountainous Kot and Achin districts along the border with Pakistan's tribal area on Saturday, spokesman with 201 Silab Corps Captain Shir Agha told Xinhua.

He also noted that air raids would continue against the hardliner group to wipe out its fighters from the area.

Surfaced in early 2015 along the border with Pakistan's tribal areas, the IS group has survived government forces continued crackdowns over the past several months.

Drone strikes against IS in the troubled Kot and Achin districts came a day after massive and coordinated attacks on security checkpoints in several villages in Kot district killed locals and destroyed their houses.

At least three civilians, including a child, were killed and 12 others injured in the deadly offensive conducted by IS militants on several villages in Kot district on Friday, spokesman for Nangarhar provincial government Ataullah Khogiani confirmed.

The militants, according to Khogiani, also set on fire 23 houses in the area.

In counter-offensive, the security forces have killed at least 30 IS fighters in Kot district on Friday forcing them to run away, Khogiani said.

This is the first time over the past one year that the IS militants have launched major offensive in the eastern region during which they also committed atrocities including beheading and kidnapping women and children, according to locals.

Meantime, a local on condition of anonymity revealed that the IS fighters have also kidnapped some women and children from the area.

Local observers believed that IS fighters were attempting to intimidate people to expand their footholds in Nangarhar and neighboring provinces.