U.S.-backed Afghan security forces in eastern Afghanistan’s Nuristan province killed a group of 27 terrorists, including two young girls equipped with suicide vests, according to the country’s Ministry of Defense (MoD).
Citing a statement issued by MoD, Khaama Press (KP) reports that 31 other militants were also injured during the operation in Nuristan, which lies along the Pakistan border.
Both the Taliban and the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) branch in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, known as IS-KP and ISIL-K, are actively operating in volatile Nuristan province.
While KP reports that it remains unclear which group recruited the two young girls and the other terrorists, the Afghanistan Times identifies them as Taliban jihadists.
The Afghanistan Times, like KP, does acknowledge that the Taliban has not commented on the incident.
At the end of July, the United Nations reported that during the first half of this year, it “recorded 26 children recruited and used by Taliban, four children by other Anti-Government Elements, and four children by Afghan Local Police (ALP).”
The UN explained:
Recruitment and use of children by armed forces and groups refers to ‘any person below 18 years of age who is recruited or used by an armed force or armed group in any capacity, including but not limited to children, boys and girls, used as fighters, cooks, porters, spies or for sexual purposes…
Given the high likelihood of under-reporting… this data may not accurately reflect the actual scale of child recruitment by parties to the conflict.
KP reports the recent clash between the Afghan security forces and the terrorists took place in Nuristan’s Want Waigal district as the Taliban launched an attack there Sunday morning.
The Afghanistan Times quotes Nuristan governor Hafiz Abdul Qayyum as saying Sunday that “dozens” of Taliban jihadists launched the attack, adding that the Afghan security forces were able to repel their advance.
“He also said that foreign insurgents, including Arabs were among the Taliban fighters, who were looking to capture the district through the coordinated attack,” added the Afghan newspaper.
According to the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a watchdog agency appointed by Congress, violent incidents in Afghanistan have been concentrated in provinces adjacent to the Pakistan border.
The UN revealed that the Afghan national police, which is a component of the U.S.-backed Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) continued to illegally engage in the sexual abuse of young boys during the first half of 2016. The ancient practice is known as bacha bazi.