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Afghan Civilians Bear Brunt of Taliban, IS Clashes in Eastern Nangarhar

Taliban fighters in an undisclosed location in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan.
Taliban fighters in an undisclosed location in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan.

More than a dozen civilians have been killed and wounded, and hundreds of families displaced by fierce fighting in recent days between the Islamic State (IS) terror group and Taliban insurgents in eastern Afghanistan.

At least eight civilians have been killed and four others wounded as clashes between the two rival groups continued for the sixth day on Friday in the Waziro Tangi region of the Khogyani district in eastern Nangarhar province.

Among the dead were four civilians who were caught in the crossfire of clashes Sunday, local officials told VOA.

Families displaced

The fighting has also displaced about 2,000 families who have fled the Wazir Tangi area to safer places, Attaullah Khogyani, the spokesperson for Nangarhar's governor, told VOA.

"We are fleeing our homes. Only a few elders have remained in the village. Hopefully, they will join us soon. Everyone is leaving," Ahmad Saeed, a displaced local resident who did not know where he and his family would end up, told VOA.

Many of the displaced families say they are living in dire conditions.

Mubarez Khadim, chief of Khogyani district, told VOA the displaced families have not received any emergency assistance from the government.

Provincial authorities, however, said they have started surveying the displaced families to provide them with humanitarian assistance.

Call for action

The fighting in Khogyani has also left dozens dead from the warring sides. Sixteen Taliban insurgents and a dozen IS fighters have been killed in the clashes, according to the governor’s office.

Dozens of militants on both sides reportedly have been wounded, too.

Since its emergence in early 2015 in the southern districts of Nangarhar, IS has engaged in frequent clashes with Taliban for control of districts and villages in the province.

Since then, tens of thousands of families have been displaced by IS atrocities in Nangarhar

IS has repeatedly targeted local villages and destroyed homes and markets. It has barred children from attending school in areas under its control.

Provincial representatives said the government should take urgent measures to clear the Khogyani district of IS militants.

"If remained unchecked, IS would soon overrun the Khogyani district, which would also pose a threat to the main highway that links Nangarhar to [the] capital, Kabul," Ahmad Ali, chief of the Nangarhar provincial council, told VOA.