World U.S., Afghan forces clear Islamic State from eastern district

02:46  09 july  2018
02:46  09 july  2018 Source:   reuters.com

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By James Mackenzie. DEH BALA, Afghanistan (Reuters) – U . S . and Afghan Special Forces are completing an operation to clear Islamic State fighters from a remote district in Nangarhar, the eastern province where they have their main stronghold in Afghanistan , officials said on Saturday.

DEH BALA, Afghanistan (Reuters) - U . S . and Afghan Special Forces are completing an operation to clear Islamic State fighters from a remote district in Nangarhar, the eastern province where they have their main stronghold in Afghanistan , officials said on Saturday.

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Mujahideen ( Islamic resistance) forces in October 1978 (see above) had started a guerrilla or civil war Main articles: Provinces of Afghanistan and Districts of Afghanistan . As a major non-NATO ally, the Afghan Armed Forces receive most of their equipment and training from the United States .

U . S . and Afghan special-operations troops are carrying out a major air and ground offensive to clear Islamic State fighters from a district where the militant group aspires to make its local capital. The operation, launched unannounced at the end of last month

The operation in Deh Bala, on the border with Pakistan, began at the end of April and was largely complete in early June but final mine clearance operations are still under way, said Lt. Col. Josh Thiel, from the U.S. First Special Forces Group.

"This was one of the main green zones that did two things. One, it provided money, finance, logistics to ISIS (Islamic State) and we've taken that away from them," he said. "Additionally, ISIS was using this as a site to prepare and move high-profile attacks on Kabul and Jalalabad."

The operation, involving three companies of Afghan commandos supported by U.S. air strikes and American Special Forces teams, began with troops arriving by helicopter and setting up an operations base near the village of Gargari, where the Islamic State fighters were trying to establish a local capital.

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Afghan forces , aided by U . S . airstrikes, have dislodged Islamic State from its main stronghold in Afghanistan ’s eastern province of Nangarhar. U . S . airstrikes help to push militants out of their main base in Achin district . By. Habib Khan Totakhil and.

By December 2015, the Islamic State covered a vast landlocked territory in western Iraq and eastern Syria, with a population estimate of 2.8 to 8 million ^ "Exclusive: In turf war with Afghan Taliban, Islamic State loyalists gain ground". ^ "Libyan forces clear last Islamic State hold-out in Sirte".

Several days of heavy fighting ended in early June with 167 Islamic State fighters killed and large quantities of equipment captured.

The fight against Islamic State and other militant groups including Al Qaeda is at the heart of the U.S. counterterrorism mission being conducted alongside the NATO-led Resolute Support operation that trains and advises Afghan security forces.

Intended to prevent Afghanistan being used as a base for future attacks against the United States, it is in large part fought against irregular forces in remote valleys on the far eastern edge of the country, an area crisscrossed by smuggling routes into the tribal areas of Pakistan.

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It was driven out of Achin and Shinwar Districts following a military operation by Afghan Security Forces ,[36] while clashes with the Taliban led to them being driven out of Batikot ^ "A new Islamic State radio station spreads panic in eastern Afghanistan ". Washington Post. 22 December 2015.

CAMP FENTY, NANGARHAR, Afghanistan — U . S . airstrikes and Afghan security forces have helped contain Islamic State ’s foray into the eastern part of the country, confining the group to a handful of districts near the Pakistan border, U . S . and Afghan military officials said.

Militants loyal to Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), the movement's local affiliate, first started appearing in Nangarhar around four years ago. Since then, the movement has gained a reputation for brutality extreme even by the standards of the Afghan conflict, making a trademark of executions by beheading or explosion.

The fighters in Deh Bala, next to Achin district where the U.S. military dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb last year, were funding themselves by illegal logging and talc mining, as well as exploiting local villagers.

However a clear link between fighters in places like Gargari, a mudbrick village down the road from Deh Bala's district capital, and the militants behind a series of sophisticated suicide attacks in Kabul or Jalalabad is elusive.

"The network is very fungible...," said Brigadier General John Brennan, Resolute Support commander in eastern Afghanistan.

"I wouldn't say the actual suicide bombers came from Deh Bala, but facilitation runs all along the border and part of it used to come through here."

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