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Afghan Forces Arrest 8 Islamic State Militants in Kabul

A member of Afghan security personnel arrives at the site of an attack at a military academy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Jan. 29, 2018. Afghan security forces arrested eight militants after members of the Islamic State group attacked a military academy in Kabul.

Authorities in Afghanistan say the national intelligence agency has arrested eight Islamic State operatives in the capital, Kabul.

The National Directorate of Security said Saturday the men were rounded up in separate operations in the city. IS recruiters were also among them.

The arrests follow an assault by five heavily armed Islamic State suicide bombers on the Afghan military academy in Kabul that killed 11 soldiers and wounded 16 others.

The suspects were recruiting Afghan youth and planning terror attacks in Kabul, the agency said. They were collecting funds for subversive activities under the guise of building mosques and Islamic seminaries, or madrassas, it added.

The military academy assault came just days after two Taliban attacks, including a massive car bombing that killed around 140 people in Kabul.

Enhanced security

Afghan security forces have since enhanced security around the capital and stepped up raids against suspected militant hideouts.

The raids also led the intelligence agency to an IS safe house in Kabul’s Qala-e-Walid neighborhood that was filled with explosives and suicide vests.

Information gleaned from an insurgent who was captured during the assault on the military academy led Afghan forces to the compound, officials said.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, acting on findings of a probe into the assault, fired seven army officers, including two generals, for "professional negligence.”

Deteriorating security in Kabul has fueled criticism of Ghani’s government for failing to protect the city. Critics blamed rampant corruption within Afghan security institutions for the spike in violence in Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, officials in southern Helmand province confirmed Saturday an overnight Taliban attack on a security outpost killed six Afghan policemen and wounded eight others.

The Taliban took responsibility for the late Friday attack in the Nawa district and claimed it killed 15 Afghan forces. The insurgent casualty tolls are often inflated. The Taliban inflicted heavy casualties on government forces during 2017, reportedly killing around 10,000 Afghan army and police personnel.