ISIS Operating in Helmand, Residents Says

ISIS Operating in Helmand, Residents Says
Sun Jan 11, 2015 18:47:24

The so-called “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” has started operations in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan, KHAAMA PRESS reports.

According to the local residents of Sangin district, a group of insurgents in black uniforms have started movements in the district carrying black flags of ISIS.

They are saying that the group is led by a local commander identified as “Abdul Rauf” are operating in Zamin Dawar area of Sangin and also parts of Kajaki district.

In the meantime, a local government official has confirmed that a gun battle broke out between the Taliban militants and a newly formed group recently which left at least 20 people dead.

The official speaking on the condition of anonymity said the group has so far been operating secretly in the two districts.

The reports of ISIS operations in Helmand province comes as President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani expressed concerns last week regarding potential threats by ISIS - also called Daesh by its Arabic acronym- to Afghanistan.

However some local insurgents said earlier in last year that they consider to join the ISIS militants who are currently fighting in Syria and Iraq.

According to reports, around 3,000 Afghan nationals have been deployed to take part in the ongoing Syria conflict.

The participation of Afghan militants in Syria war has sparked concerns among the Afghan officials some will return to fight in Afghanistan under Islamic State’s flag.

In 26th September 2014 according to Afghanistan Deputy Governor Ali Ahmad Ahmadi and Deputy Police Chief Gen. Asadullah Ensafi in Ghazni province, Insurgents carrying the black flag of ISIS captured several villages in Ghazni province in a brutal offensive alongside Taliban fighters and killed more than 100 people. Fifteen family members of local police officers were beheaded and at least 60 homes were set ablaze, Ahmadi said.

NBC News reports that militants called themselves soldiers of "Daesh".

Last year Foreign Policy reports, ISIS published pamphlets in local languages and distributed to Afghans and Pakistanis in Peshawara to invite citizens of both countries to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-declared caliph of ISIS, and join the “jihad” against non-believers.

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