Taliban raids on ISIS hideouts leave eight dead

Fighters killed had role in attack on Chinese citizens at Kabul hotel, Taliban says

Taliban security forces at a roadside checkpoint in Kabul. ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack at one on Sunday. EPA
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Eight people were killed and seven arrested in raids on ISIS hideouts in Afghanistan, the Taliban said on Thursday.

The Taliban has long fought against the hardline extremist group, which has sought to attract fighters and supporters in Afghanistan.

"These members had a main role in the attack on the Chinese hotel and paved the way for foreign ISKP members to come to Afghanistan," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said on Twitter.

"Lots of weapons and explosives have fallen into the hands of the security forces."

Mr Mujahid was referring to a gun and bomb attack at a hotel in downtown Kabul in which five Chinese citizens were badly wounded.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on the Longan Hotel on December 11, which was the first on Chinese interests in the country since the Taliban took power last year.

"The nature of this terrorist attack was abominable, the Chinese side is deeply shocked," said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin at the time.

The Taliban-run administration said three assailants were killed by the security forces.

More than 30 Chinese citizens were in the hotel at the time of the attack, Yu Ming Hui, the head of the China Town business complex in Kabul and a leading Chinese businessman in Afghanistan, told Reuters.

"Five of them are in the ICU in Emergency Hospital, around 13 to 14 are superficially wounded," he said in December after the attack.

ISIS also claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing near a checkpoint at the Afghan capital’s military airport on Sunday.

The group said that attack was carried out by the same militant who took part in the Longan Hotel assault.

The regional affiliate of ISIS in Khorasan Province, a main rival of the Taliban, has increased its attacks in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in 2021. Targets have included Taliban patrols and members of Afghanistan’s Shiite minority.

ISIS published a photo of the attacker, identifying him as Abdul Jabbar, saying he withdrew safely from the attack on the hotel after he ran out of ammunition. It added he detonated his explosives-laden vest targeting the soldiers gathered at the checkpoint.

Mr Mujahid said light weapons, hand grenades, mines, vests and explosives were confiscated by the Taliban’s security forces during the raids on an ISIS hideout in the Shahdai Salehin neighbourhood. Residents reported sounds of several explosions and an hours-long gun battle.

The Taliban swept across the country in August 2021, seizing power as US and Nato forces were in the last weeks of their final withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of war.

Updated: January 05, 2023, 9:21 AM