ISIS, Aided by Ex-Taliban Groups, Makes Inroads in Northern Afghanistan

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KABUL, Afghanistan — Two Taliban groups that recently switched allegiance to the Islamic State have overrun an embattled district in northern Afghanistan, killing at least 10 government fighters and a large number of civilians, according to Afghan officials in the area.

In addition, government officials accuse the Islamic State fighters of being responsible for the deaths of 15 medical patients, but it was not immediately clear if they had died from their wounds or if they had been executed by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

The events represent a new front for the extremist group, which is opposed by the Taliban as well as by the government and has not previously had significant successes in northern Afghanistan.

The attack took place in the district of Darzab, in the southwest of Jowzjan Province, a remote area that has long seesawed between government and Taliban control, with local warlords switching allegiances frequently. Fighters loyal to the country’s exiled vice president and warlord, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, have also played a role.

The New York Times

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