Taliban govt downplays IS threat, arrests 600 militants

Kabul, Nov 11 (IANS) The Taliban-led government in Afghanistan has downplayed the security threat posed by the Islamic State (IS), saying security forces have arrested 600 militants affiliated with the terror group over the past three months.

“The security forces of the Islamic Emirate have destroyed 21 bases of the IS group in different provinces including Kabul, Nangarhar and Herat and also captured about 600 militants over the past three months,” Xinhua news agency quoted Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid as saying to reporters at a press briefing here.

Mujahid said the group doesn’t enjoy support from Afghans and its activities are under control.

The spokesman also assured that the crackdown on the armed group would continue.

“Afghanistan’s soil won’t be used against any country.”

The remarks come as the US and its allies are concerned over alleged presence of Al Qaeda, IS and and other terror outfits in Afghanistan.

Responding to a question, Mujahid said that Afghanistan attaches great importance to developing ties with its neighbours and seeks to boost trade and economic cooperation with them.

Mujahid also said that acting Foreign Minister Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi was currently on a visit to Islamabad to discuss with Pakistani officials the matters concerning mutual interests including trade and economic cooperation.

Also speaking at the briefing, Khalil Hamraz, head of public relations of the General Directorate of Intelligence, or the country’s counter-intelligence agency, said that the agency would continue to crack down on the IS operatives and criminals including kidnappers, thieves and all those who violate law and order.