IS-KP attackers of Pakistan Embassy, Kabul hotel 'killed'

Aghan Taliban spokesperson says security forces killed 8, arrested 7 militants during an operation


Shahabullah Yousafzai January 05, 2023
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid. Photo: Anadolu Agency

KABUL:

Militants involved in the attack on the Pakistani embassy in Kabul and a separate attack on a hotel targeting Chinese nationals were killed, said Afghan Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid on Thursday confirming details of an operation that "eliminated a group of ISKP in Kabul and Nimroz provinces".

Earlier in December, a Pakistani security guard had been wounded by shots fired at the Pakistan embassy in the Afghan capital, in what Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had called “an assassination attempt” on the head of the mission Ubaidur Rehman Nizamani, who remained safe.

The following day, the outlawed Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack. In a statement cited by jihadist monitor SITE, the IS' Khorasan chapter had said it had "attacked the Pakistani ambassador and his guards".

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According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 4, “we have seen reports that the IS-KP has accepted responsibility for the terrorist attack on the Pakistan Embassy compound on December 2, 2022.”

The statement said, “independently and in consultation with the Afghan authorities, we are verifying the veracity of these reports.”

Meanwhile, on December 12, armed men had opened fire inside a hotel in central Kabul popular with Chinese nationals. Beijing had later confirmed that five of its nationals were wounded in the attack.

Zabihullah Mujahid, in a statement issued today, said that the security forces of the Taliban administration had carried out operations against a "dangerous and important network" of Daesh (Islamic State) on Wednesday.

The spokesman confirmed that eight members of the militant group, including foreign nationals, were killed in the operation, while seven others were arrested and that the Daesh members were involved in both of the aforementioned attacks.

A female IS-KP member was also reportedly arrested during the operation. However, Mujahid refrained from sharing the details of the militant's nationalities "for security purposes".

"The scores of suspects arrested have been relocated for investigation," Mujahid told local media.

Furthermore, he said that the slain militants had also been planning more attacks on "several other important places".

"They planned to bring in Daesh members from other countries to Afghanistan and carry out widespread coordinated attacks," he added, claiming that the "group was the most lethal".

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The spokesperson went on to state that three "hideouts" had been "destroyed" during the operation conducted in the Shuda-e-Saliheen and Qalacha areas as well as Zaranj, the capital of Nimroz province.

"A large number of small arms, hand grenades, mines, suicide vests and explosives were obtained," he said.

Afghanistan threatened with 'action'

A day earlier, the United States had threatened to ‘take action’ against the Taliban regime if it observed international terrorists regrouping in Afghanistan.

In a press briefing, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price, while responding to a question regarding the Taliban's inability to fulfill their commitments regarding safe havens for terrorist groups, had stated that the militant group was “either unable or unwilling to live up to the commitments that they’ve made in a number of areas”.

“One of those areas is the commitment they have made to counterterrorism, to seeing to it that Afghanistan does not once again become a haven for international terrorists, a launch pad for attacks against countries well beyond its borders,” he stated, adding that this was an interest of the US.

Meanwhile, official sources had told The Express Tribune that Pakistan intended to approach the interim Afghan government with a fresh demand to deny the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliates any space on Afghan soil.

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While the civil and military leadership decided to deal with the TTP and other terror outfits with iron hands, the Afghan Taliban would be asked to cooperate in this endeavour, they said, adding that the Afghan Taliban would be given one choice—“either you are with Pakistan or with the TTP”.

The spokesperson maintained that the US had “capabilities” regarding counterterrorism in the region which did not leave them “entirely beholden to the Taliban”.

He highlighted that the US had “demonstrated those capabilities in recent months with the killing of the now-deceased al-Qaida emir, Ayman al-Zawahiri”.

According to Price, the US had made “good on the pledge that you have consistently heard from President Biden since the withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan last year, that we will take action if we see international terrorists regrouping in Afghanistan”.

“We will take action in a way that protects our interests,” he reiterated.

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