Afghanistan’s Hekmatyar announces support for IS

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KABUL: In a surprising move, Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan chief Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has advised his supporters to help the international militant group Islamic State (IS) in its fight against the local Taliban.

Hekmatyar’s controversial remarks came amid reports of fighting between the Taliban and IS in parts of Nangarhar province, foreign reports claimed.

Nearly 80 people, including some known personalities, from both sides have been killed since May 10, senior Afghan Taliban leader Anwarul Haq Mujahid said last week.

Last month, the Taliban issued a warning to Dai’sh leader Abu Bakar Baghdadi asking him to stay out of Afghanistan. Senior Afghan officials are showing concerns at the looming IS threat and the government of President Ashraf Ghani has raised a special force to fight the group.

“If the Taliban of the Emirate fight with those who have quit the Taliban and declared allegiance to the Islamic State, help these militants, because the Taliban are sworn enemies of Hizb-e-Islami,” Hekamtayr advised his supporters in a statement posted on the Hizb’s daily ‘Shahadat’.

The Hizb-e-Islami itself had been involved in fighting with the Taliban fighters on several occasions and in parts of Maida-e-Wardak province.