The Islamic State is stepping up its attacks in eastern Afghanistan, claiming responsibility for multiple recent roadside bombings that targeted Taliban fighters but left civilians dead as well.
The bombings took place in Jalalabad, an ISIS stronghold, and purposely went after Taliban vehicles. On Sunday, eight people were killed in the blasts, including some Taliban militants, and dozens more injured. Additional explosions were heard in Jalalabad on Monday, and The Associated Press says there are unconfirmed reports that additional Taliban fighters were killed.
After assuming control of Afghanistan in August, the Taliban told world leaders it would not let terrorist groups use the country as a base to plan overseas attacks. Before the U.S. finished its withdrawal last month, an ISIS attack at the Kabul airport killed 13 U.S. service members and 169 Afghan civilians.
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The Taliban and ISIS are rivals with different goals: While the Taliban wants to control Afghanistan with its strict interpretation of Islamic law, ISIS wants to have an Islamic empire across several countries. There are many more Taliban fighters in Afghanistan than ISIS militants, but research analyst Ibraheem Bahiss told AP these new attacks show ISIS is "making a very dramatic comeback. There could be a long-term struggle between the groups."
Feda Mohammad's 18-year-old brother and 10-year-old cousin were killed in one of the Sunday blasts, and he told AP that after years of war, Afghans believed "that since the Taliban have come, peace will come. But there's no peace, no security. You can't hear anything except the news of bomb blasts killing this one or that."
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