KABUL: At least six terrorists including commanders were killed and 15 others wounded Thursday in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack targetting the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Afghanistan’s Khost province.
According to sources, the killed militants were identified as Abdul Manan, Alam Khan Mudakhel, Kajeer while three dead militants remain unnamed.
Among the injured terrorists are commander Fazl Amin, commander Muhammad alias Toofan, commander Noor Payo Khan, Faqirullah, Tarozai, Sat Kai, Ali Sur Khan, Zubair, Hijratullah, Kamal, Sher Afzal, Bakhtullah, Zubihullah, and two others.
No group or country has claimed responsibility for the attack.
It must be noted that the TTP pledges allegiance to the Afghan Taliban but is not directly a part of the group that rules in Kabul.
The Afghan affiliate of Daesh, known as Daesh Khorasan, after an old name of the region, are enemies of the Taliban. Fighters loyal to Daesh first appeared in eastern Afghanistan in 2014, and later made inroads in other areas.
On Monday, Taliban forces killed a top Daesh commander who allegedly planned attacks against diplomatic missions in Afghanistan’s capital, a government official said.
Violence in Afghanistan dramatically dipped after the Taliban seized power in August 2021.
But in the past year, security has worsened, with a spate of mass casualty attacks claimed by Daesh’s regional chapter.
Taliban forces killed Qari Fateh, the regional Daesh “intelligence and operations chief,” during an operation on Sunday night, the Taliban government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.
Fateh “directly masterminded recent operations in Kabul, including against diplomatic missions, mosques, and other targets,” Mujahid said.
One other Daesh member was killed in the operation against the cell, which was based in Kabul’s Khair Khana area, according to the statement.
After Western forces left Afghanistan in August 2021, Pakistan sought a truce with the TTP, resulting in a months-long ceasefire and negotiations brokered by the Afghan Taliban. As part of the effort, many militants from Afghanistan were resettled in Pakistan.
The TTP ended the ceasefire in November 2022, and regrouped militants restarted attacks in Pakistan soon after.
Pakistan’s military effectively dismantled the TTP and killed most of its top leadership in a string of operations from 2014 onwards, driving most of the fighters into Afghanistan, where they regrouped.
But the nature of the fight has changed in recent months, which partly shows why the police, not the military, are at the forefront. The militants were now spread in smaller groups across the country and among the civilian population, instead of operating from bases in former tribal areas, analysts said.
On January 31, a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a crowded mosque in a highly fortified security compound in Peshawar Police Lines area, killing over 80 people, in the latest in a string of attacks targeting police. The responsibility was taken by outlawed TTP.
—Additional details from Reuters and AFP