900 ISIS affiliates, which consists of fighters as well as their families have surrendered in eastern Afghanistan's Nagarhar province, after the Afghan National Security Forces (NSF) supported by the western coalition forces launched massive operations against the IS. As per reports, Taliban which sees ISIS as an enemy, had also launched operations against the group, since September.
Among the 900 fighters who have surrendered, included a large number of foreign fighters, from neighboring Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia and Iran, reported Afghanistan's TOLO News Agency. Ten among the 900 are reported to be Indian nationals, chiefly from the Indian southern state of Kerala, India's Hindustan Times reported.
Afghan ISIS fighters will be investigated through the country's judicial system, while some will be released unpunished to "start their normal life", Nangarhar province spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said. Those of other nationalities will be sent to capital Kabul for questioning, he further added.
In July, while Pentagon pegged the number of ISIS fighters to be around 2000, while the UN in a separate report placed the numbers between 2,500 to 4,000.
Afghan National Security Forces (NSF) with the support of the western coalition forces launched operations on November 12, in the country's east, seen as a terror hotbed. Afghan officials said their forces, aided by US personnel, starved the ISIS fighters by cutting off their supply lines in Nangarhar, provincial governor Shahmahmood Miakhel said.
Within a few hours into the operation, a total of 93 IS members, including 13 Pakistani nationals, laid down their arms. In a statement on Saturday, the country's defense ministry cited 600 fighters to have surrendered. As per latest reports, the number now stands at 900.
We have obliterated Daesh: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani
"No one believed one year ago that we would stand up and remain in Nangarhar, and thank God that today we have obliterated Daesh," President Ashraf Ghani said Tuesday during a speech in Jalalabad, using an Arabic acronym for IS, which it detests. "It's not possible that they once again equip themselves in other areas of Afghanistan and threaten other parts of the country," Nangarhar Governor Shah Mahmoud Miakhel added.
While the United States played down the feat achieved, Taliban hailed its own operation against the proscribed terror group, which it launched in September. However, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed blamed the government forces for "rescuing Daesh fighters who were under the siege of the Taliban" in the area.