The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) branch in Afghanistan decapitated four members of a militia group controlled by a prominent Afghan lawmaker. They had been taken hostage during a gunfight Saturday. In retaliation, the Afghan militia beheaded four ISIS jihadists.
The brutal killings occurred Sunday in the Achin district of Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan, along the Pakistan border, which appears to be ISIS’ main power base in Afghanistan.
Reuters learned from local officials that “local village militia members loyal to a powerful Afghan lawmaker beheaded four Islamic State fighters and placed their severed heads on the side of a main road in eastern Afghanistan.”
The Afghan lawmaker was identified as Zahir Qadir, deputy speaker of Parliament.
“Do you think if they behead you, you cook them sweets?” the prominent lawmaker reportedly asked.
Daily Mail quoted Ghalib Mujahib, governor of the Achin district, as saying that “the eight men who died had all been captured by their opposition during battles on Saturday.”
“We condemn the act of Daesh, and of course we condemn the act of Qadir’s men here,” the governor reportedly said, using an alternative name for ISIS.
“It is not acceptable for either side to act like this,” he added.
Afghan officials say Achin is one of four districts that has fallen into the hands of ISIS in recent months, Daily Mail reports.
“It is not unusual for powerful figures in Afghanistan to control personal militias, though the central government and international organizations such as the United Nations have expressed concern about a growing number of armed groups that are not part of the government’s security force,” notes the report.
The Islamic State (IS) branch known as the Khorasan province (IS-KP) established its presence in Afghanistan in January soon after the U.S. and NATO ended their combat mission and transitioned to a train, advise, and assist (TAA) role.
Khorasan is an ancient name for a period that covers parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, India, and other countries.
IS-KP has spread across Afghanistan, according to a United Nations report released in September.
The report revealed that the group is actively recruiting supporters in nearly three-quarters (25) of the country’s 34 provinces.
IS-KP is fighting local militias and the Taliban for territory.
Khaama Press recently reported that “the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group in Afghanistan have released a new propaganda video which purportedly shows the extreme violent acts of the terror group in Afghanistan.”
“The video shows suicide attack [sic] on a check post apparently belonging to the Afghan security forces using a Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) and roadside bombings targeting the government vehicles as well the non-government organizations,” the report revealed. “In other parts of the video, the fanatics of the terror group are shown beheading a man and execution of two other men by firing from a close range. … An ambush on a vehicle convoy of the Pakistani security forces and fierce gunfight has also been included in the new video.”
The video, titled “Khorasan: The Graveyard of Apostates,” claimed the violent acts took place in central Logar, eastern Nangarhar, and southeastern Paktika provinces.
Gen. John Campbell, the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, recently warned that IS-KP is growing, noting that the branch wants to establish a regional base in Jalalabad, the provincial capital of Nangarhar.
The general told the Associated Press (AP) that foreign fighters from Syria and Iraq had linked up with the ISIS militants in Nangarhar and are trying to consolidate links with the leadership of the group in Syria and Iraq.
Last week, Gen. Campbell reportedly said that between 1,000 to 3,000 ISIS-linked militants were in Afghanistan.
A Pentagon report released earlier this month also warned that the ISIS branch in Afghanistan is getting stronger.