Kabul: Afghan security forces on Saturday started an operation against Islamic State (IS) militants’ positions in the country’s Nangarhar province, the defence ministry said.

“Personnel of Afghan National Army (ANA) launched a joint military operation on Saturday in close coordination with police and national intelligence agency staff in Achin district, Nangarhar province,” Xinhua quoted a ministry statement as saying.

The security forces would help pro-government militiamen to deploy security checkpoints in the surrounding areas of the district and the operation will continue before the area is cleared from IS militants, it added.

“The army air force will also provide air support to the local anti-IS uprising groups,” the statement said.

The Achin district, located in the southern part of provincial capital of Jalalabad, has been regarded as the IS militants’ stronghold. Several dozens of IS militants have been killed after Afghan army helicopters and drones of US forces carried out airstrikes in Achin bordering Pakistan over the past couple of months.