Afghanistan arrests 3 senior members of South Asian branch of Daesh

Afghan security forces have detained at least three senior members of the South Asian branch of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

The General Directorate of National Security, known as the NDS, and the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Monday that the militant group's head of South Asia, Abu Omar Khorasani, was arrested in Kabul alongside the group's spy chief and public relations officer.

"NDS will continue its comprehensive and targeted operations to hunt down senior leaders of regional terrorist groups and destroy the joint hubs of these terrorist networks," the statement said.

The Daesh branch of South Asia is mainly focused on a small presence in Afghanistan, largely in the north, though it has carried out high-profile attacks further south in the capital.

On May 6, the Afghan security agency in two separate raids busted a sleeper cell that was jointly run by the IS-K, the Afghan branch of Daesh and Haqqani network, the most ruthless branch of the Taliban. The NDS said five militants were killed and eight others detained when security forces stormed two hideouts – one in Kabul and the other outside the city.

The cell had been involved in carrying out several deadly attacks on places of worship and other targets across the country.

In recent years, Daesh has established a foothold in eastern and northern Afghanistan. The terrorist group has mostly been populating Nangarhar, from where it has carried out attacks at major population centers across the country.

In February 2018, months after the group's defeat was announced in Iraq and Syria, the Associated Press reported that the US military was pulling its forces from a base in Iraq and shifting them to Afghanistan.

The report flew in the face of US President Donald Trump's campaign promises to end Washington's intervention in Afghanistan.

Taliban intensify attacks despite deal with US

Separately on Monday, there were four roadside blasts in the capital that wounded four civilians, including a child, according to Kabul's police.

Haroon Yousufzai, a local military spokesman, said clashes in the eastern province of Laghman between security forces and the Taliban killed six members of security forces and wounded five over the past few hours. The Ministry of Defense said the Taliban also suffered heavy casualties.

Official data shows Taliban bombings and other assaults have increased by 70-percent since the militant group inked a peace deal with the United States in February.

Under the Washington-Taliban deal, the militants agreed to halt their attacks in return for the gradual US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The group, however, accuses Washington of failing to honor the agreement.


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