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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.

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