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ISIS And Taliban Jihadists Are Blowing Each Other Apart In Afghanistan

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) killed more than a dozen people Tuesday in an attack on Taliban officials and local leaders, Afghan officials revealed to reporters.

Suspected ISIS militants launched an assault on a gathering in the Sayyad district of Sar-e Pul Tuesday, according to Reuters.

“Two Daesh fighters entered a Taliban commander’s house where a ceremony was under way and opened fire,” Zabiullah Amani, spokesman for the Sar-e Pul governor, told reporters.

Abdul Qayuom Baqizoi, the Sar-e Pul provincial police chief, told the Associated Press the attack was carried out by an ISIS suicide bomber, while Provincial Council chief Mohammed Noor Rahman claimed the deadly assault occurred at a funeral at a local mosque. AFP, citing Afghan officials, reported the attack was carried out with guns and grenades.

The AP noted the varied accounts are impossible to corroborate.

A Taliban commander is believed to have been killed in the attack, which resulted in anywhere from 15 to 20 deaths.

While the details of the attack are disputed, the latest slaughter appears to be part of the escalating turf war between ISIS and the Taliban. As many as 100 jihadists have died in recent days as the conflict between ISIS and Taliban forces in northern Afghanistan rages on, Abdul Qayuom Baqizoi, the Sar-e Pul provincial police chief, explained.

“Daesh and Taliban [militants] have been fighting each other for more than two months in [neighboring] Jowzjan and Sari Pul, killing hundreds on both sides,” Zabiullah Amani, spokesman for the Sari Pul governor, told AFP.

“The war between the Afghan Taliban and Islamic State branch in Khorasan has escalated,” a source close to ISIS told The National. “More attacks and more casualties, but in war there are casualties.”

During a brief three-day ceasefire between the Afghan government and the Taliban in mid-June, an ISIS suicide bomber blew himself up in eastern Afghanistan as Taliban forces gathered to celebrate the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, killing 25 people and wounding dozens of others, according to CBS News.

While the Taliban is Afghanistan’s largest militant group, ISIS has continued to make its presence in the country felt, expanding into northern Afghanistan from locations in the eastern part of the country, where the group first established a foothold.

In addition to fighting each other, the two groups have also carried out deadly terrorist attacks across the war-torn country, including a series of attacks in the capital city of Kabul. (RELATED: ISIS Suicide Bombing Kills At Least 52 In Afghan Capital)

The U.S. military, in cooperation with local Afghan security forces and other international partners, is waging war against both ISIS and the Taliban. The war has been ongoing for 17 years.

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