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06:47

Afghanistan: Families bear the scars of IS as fighting continues in Nangarhar

Afghanistan, Nangarhar Province
August 21, 2018 at 06:13 GMT +00:00 · Published

Afghanistan's National Security Forces (ANSF) are continuing to conduct operations against militants from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIS/ISIL) in the country's eastern province of Nangarhar, where the effects of IS violence still loom large in people's lives.

According to an ANSF commander from the anti-IS operation: "IS has failed, they are not powerful any more, they are being defeated in Nangarhar and now they are trying to go to the north of Afghanistan."

"IS will be finished," the commander said, adding that IS forces have largely been pushed back to the Afghan-Pakistani border.

ANSF soldiers were seen walking through a reconquered complex in the Haska Mina district that once served as a school and a clinic, before becoming an IS base. The complex was a destroyed shell of its former self, with wreckage filling up what used to be classrooms, and bullet marks visible on the walls and doors.

A Haska Mina resident said IS militants had used the complex as a base for four months, before it was reclaimed by the ANSF. "Nothing is left here. This place has been ruined. People used to live here, there were clinics, doctors, students and teachers, but now it has been destroyed."

"IS militants don't have any specific tactic. Their only tactic is to bring pressure in cities and cause causalities to civilians and poor people," an ANSF commander added.

IS losses on the ground have not erased the psychological wounds their militants have left on some families in the area. "IS fighters took my innocent son and killed him and haven’t given us his dead body. I am here now with my small children and we have nothing in life," stated the father of an 18-year old man killed by IS.

Similarly, a grieving woman recounted how IS militants killed her 22-year-old son with an axe and denied him a burial, leaving her with his children to help look after. "We are asking the government to help his orphans and widow as soon as possible," she said.

The reported territorial retreat by IS comes as its forces continue to perpetrate terror attacks across the country, most recently when a suicide bomber killed at least 34 people after targeting an education centre in Kabul in mid-August. IS claimed responsibility for that attack.

In addition to fighting against IS, the ANSF is currently embroiled in a years-long conflict against the Taliban.

The United Nations announced on July 15 that the number of Afghan civilians killed in the fighting hit a record high in the first half of 2018, with 1,692 people having lost their lives.

06:47
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Afghanistan's National Security Forces (ANSF) are continuing to conduct operations against militants from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIS/ISIL) in the country's eastern province of Nangarhar, where the effects of IS violence still loom large in people's lives.

According to an ANSF commander from the anti-IS operation: "IS has failed, they are not powerful any more, they are being defeated in Nangarhar and now they are trying to go to the north of Afghanistan."

"IS will be finished," the commander said, adding that IS forces have largely been pushed back to the Afghan-Pakistani border.

ANSF soldiers were seen walking through a reconquered complex in the Haska Mina district that once served as a school and a clinic, before becoming an IS base. The complex was a destroyed shell of its former self, with wreckage filling up what used to be classrooms, and bullet marks visible on the walls and doors.

A Haska Mina resident said IS militants had used the complex as a base for four months, before it was reclaimed by the ANSF. "Nothing is left here. This place has been ruined. People used to live here, there were clinics, doctors, students and teachers, but now it has been destroyed."

"IS militants don't have any specific tactic. Their only tactic is to bring pressure in cities and cause causalities to civilians and poor people," an ANSF commander added.

IS losses on the ground have not erased the psychological wounds their militants have left on some families in the area. "IS fighters took my innocent son and killed him and haven’t given us his dead body. I am here now with my small children and we have nothing in life," stated the father of an 18-year old man killed by IS.

Similarly, a grieving woman recounted how IS militants killed her 22-year-old son with an axe and denied him a burial, leaving her with his children to help look after. "We are asking the government to help his orphans and widow as soon as possible," she said.

The reported territorial retreat by IS comes as its forces continue to perpetrate terror attacks across the country, most recently when a suicide bomber killed at least 34 people after targeting an education centre in Kabul in mid-August. IS claimed responsibility for that attack.

In addition to fighting against IS, the ANSF is currently embroiled in a years-long conflict against the Taliban.

The United Nations announced on July 15 that the number of Afghan civilians killed in the fighting hit a record high in the first half of 2018, with 1,692 people having lost their lives.

M/S Afghan security forces taking part in operation against militants of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), Nangarhar province

W/S Security forces vehicles

M/S Soldiers on vehicle

SOT, Member of Afghan National Security Forces (Pashto): "When we came here the enemy was in that area, we pushed them away. They had gone to this location, and now we captured the whole area from them."

W/S Soldiers

SOT, Member of Afghan National Security Forces (Pashto): "We seized a bomb from the enemy. We didn't use it, now our engineering team will detonate it."

W/S Explosion

W/S Security forces vehicle

C/U Soldier inside vehicle

M/S Inside of vehicle

W/S Security forces vehicle moving

M/S Soldiers

SOT, Colonel Qand Agha Safi, Anti-IS operation commander (Pashto): "The power that IS had four years ago, they don't have it now. Our forces in Achin have reached the Takhto area and Momand Dara which were under the control of IS. All of Achin was under the control of IS. Now IS has been pushed to the Durand Line, the border with Pakistan. We have seized all the locations from Haska Mina to Gorgoray. Our border forces, police forces, public order forces and national army forces are based there in the Haska Mina district."

M/S Fighters holding RPGs

M/S Soldiers

SOT, Colonel Qand Agha Safi, Anti-IS operation commander (Pashto): "A few IS members are living on the Durand line, the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are trying to cause problems but we are here to prevent it. IS has failed, they are not powerful anymore, they are being defeated in Nangarhar and now they are trying to go to the north of Afghanistan. As you know some days ago around 200 of them surrendered to the government in the Jawzjan province as well. IS will be finished."

M/S Soldier carrying RPG

M/S Fighters sitting under tree

M/S Security forces vehicle bearing Afghan flag

M/S Soldiers, residents entering premises of destroyed school and clinic formerly used as IS base, Haska Mina district

W/S Man walking on rubble

M/S Soldiers standing and resident walking on school/clinic wreckage

W/S School/clinic wreckage

M/S School/clinic wreckage

SOT, Khan Akhbar, Resident (Pashto): "This is the Papen school. There used to be a clinic used by residents here. Then IS created a base here. IS fighters had an active presence here for four months. They used to fight against Afghan forces and were facing air bombardments but the brave security forces liberated this location from them. Now people are coming one by one, although most of the houses are empty. But people are coming. Security forces have created checkpoints, one is at the top there. In Mia Baba they have a checkpoint as well. The centre for IS fighters used to be here, but now the situation is getting better day by day."

W/S School/clinic wreckage

W/S Soldiers inside remains of classroom

W/S Man walking on rubble

SOT, Khan Akhbar, Resident (Pashto): "As you can see, nothing is left here. This place has been ruined. People used to live here, there were clinics, doctors, students and teachers, but now it has been destroyed."

M/S Soldier walking on rubble

W/S Door with bullet marks

SOT, Anti-IS operation commander (Dari): "IS militants don't have any specific tactic. Their only tactic is to bring pressure in cities and cause causalities to civilians and poor people. They are planting anti -personnel and anti-tank mines in these locations, their aim is to bring pressure on civilians, nothing else."

W/S School/clinic wreckage

M/S Soldiers next to door with bullet marks

M/S Sawab Khan, father of 18-year old killed by IS, sitting with two sons

C/U Khan with sons

SOT, Sawab Khan, Father of 18-year old killed by IS (Pashto): "My son’s name was Asama. We used to farm here. IS fighters took my innocent son and killed him and haven’t given us his dead body. I am here now with my small children and we have nothing in life. My son was a farmer and he doesn't belong to anyone now."

C/U Sayedullah holding photos of slain brother

SOT, Sawab Khan, Father of 18-year old killed by IS (Pashto): "IS militants killed one of our young relatives who was came for an engagement ceremony. IS has held one of my cousins in captivity for six months and we still don’t know if he is dead or alive. They committed a lot of injustices against us. My son was 18 years old and we were searching for a life partner to get him engaged but IS fighters killed him and his dead body is still lying there. They haven’t given him to us."

SOT, Sayedullah, brother of 18-year old killed by IS (Pashto): "He was my brother. IS fighters killed him and they are not giving his dead body to us yet. They did an injustice to us."

M/S Children

C/U Mother of 22-year old killed by IS

C/U Mother with grandchildren

W/S Mother with grandchildren

SOT, Mother of 22-year old son by IS (Pashto): "IS fighters killed my son. I was in a clinic where IS fighters had followed me. I waited for my son in a fort for three nights. They had hit him with an axe and then they had fired 15 bullets at him and thrown him out of a window. My daughters brought him [back] with other women. IS was not letting anyone bury his dead body. Then the Afghan security forces came and buried him with their clothes. Now his orphans are left to me, and we are asking the government to help his orphans and widow as soon as possible."

M/S Mother with grandchildren

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