At least 28 Daesh militants were killed on Friday by a U.S. drone strike and in clashes with local Taliban fighters in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province, provincial officials have said.
The drone strike occurred as militants were in the process of beheading several Taliban fighters and an Afghan soldier following Friday prayers in Nangarhar’s restive Achin district, located some 150 kilometers east of capital Kabul.
“At least 15 Daesh fighters were killed by a U.S. drone strike as they were beheading Taliban fighters,” provincial police spokesman Hazrat Hussain Mashriqiwal told Anadolu Agency.
The Daesh militants had reportedly forced local residents to watch the executions.
While some local sources have said that the drone strike had also caused civilian causalities, Mashriqiwal rejected these assertions, saying: “We haven’t received any information regarding civilian losses.”
He went on to say that four local Daesh commanders had been among those killed in Friday’s drone strike.
In a similar incident on Saturday, another drone strike killed at least four Pakistani militants in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province, which shares a border with Pakistan.
According to Abdul Ghani Mosamim, a spokesman for the provincial governor, the strike occurred in Kunar’s Shegal district.
Neither the Taliban nor Daesh, however, has so far commented on the reported incident.
The U.S. military and the Afghan air force have been striking Daesh positions from the air and ground since late last year, when the militants began carrying out deadly attacks on local security posts.
In a related development, another 13 Daesh militants — along with three Taliban fighters — have been killed since Friday, when clashes erupted between the two groups in the villages of Dago, Sangini and Kariz in Nangarhar’s Chaparhar district.
Daesh first gained notoriety inside Afghanistan after beheading a number of civilians in Nangarhar. Since then, it has targeted anyone opposed to its extremist views, including Afghan government officials, security personnel and members of the rival Taliban group.