Taliban, IS massacre 50 civilians in rare joint operation: Afghan officials

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The Taliban and Islamic State group jointly massacred dozens of civilians in an Afghan village, officials said on Monday highlighting rare co-operation between the insurgents that could increase the strain on Afghanistan’s beleaguered security forces.

The fighters killed more than 50 men, women and children in the remote Sayad district of northern Sar-e Pul province on Saturday after overrunning the Afghan Local Police (ALP) – a government-backed militia – in a 48-hour battle, according to local officials.

“It was a joint operation by Daesh (IS) and Taliban fighters. They had recruited forces from other provinces of the country and attacked Mirzawalang village,” Zabihullah Amani, a spokesman for the provincial governor, told AFP.

The spokesman alleged that dozens of Taliban and IS group fighters under the command of Sher Mohammad Ghazanfar, a local Taliban commander who Amani claims pledged allegiance to IS, launched a co-ordinated attack on the area on Thursday.

“The fighters overran the area and it led to the massacre of innocent and defenceless civilians,” he said.

Most of those killed were shot but some were beheaded, Amani said.

Verifying information from poor, mountainous areas of Afghanistan made inaccessible by fighting and with patchy communications is difficult, and AFP was not able to access the village.

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