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IS, Taliban battle in eastern Afghanistan — official


By Associated Press

An intense gun battle has been taking place over the last two days between Taliban and Islamic State affiliate insurgents in eastern Nangarhar province, a provincial official said Tuesday

FILE - In this May 27, 2016 file photo, Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan. After operating out of Pakistan for more than a decade, the leaders of Afghanistan’s Taliban movement may have moved back to their homeland to try to build on this year’s gains in the war and to establish a permanent presence. If confirmed, the move would be a sign of the Taliban’s confidence in their fight against the U.S.-backed government in Kabul. (AP Photos/Allauddin Khan, File) Manila Bulletin

Taliban fighters (AP Photos/Allauddin Khan/Manila Bulletin File Photo)

Attahullah Khogyani, provincial governor’s spokesman, said that hundreds of families have been displaced from villages in Khogyani and Sherzad districts. He said an operation involving air and ground forces was begun to eliminate both insurgent groups from the area.

Six civilians were wounded and there are reports of dozens of casualties among the insurgents, he said.

“The local government officials have already started emergency assistance to the internally displaced people, including cash money, tents, food items and nonfood items,” Khogynai added.

Sherzad, Khogyani and Hasarak districts in Nangarhar are strategic because they link with neighboring Logar province as well as the capital Kabul.

In April, the U.S. military used the Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, or MOAB, against an Islamic State group tunnel complex carved in the mountains in Nangarhar province.

In a separate attack in eastern Logar province, 11 civilians were wounded after a suicide bomber carried out an attack in Puli Alim, the provincial capital, said Salim Saleh, spokesman for the provincial governor. He said two were in critical condition.

The bomber was on foot and targeted a convoy of the provincial deputy police chief, who was passing by a bazaar. He escaped unharmed, Saleh said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Logar, but Taliban insurgents have stepped up their attacks across the country against Afghan security forces and they are active in the province.

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