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Taliban claim raid on ISKP cell responsible for recent bus attack in Herat

The Taliban spokesperson said the targeted cell was responsible for the attack on a bus in Herat carrying members of the Taliban's al-Farooq Corps on October 27.


18 Nov 2022

On the evening of November 15, 2022, pro-Taliban Twitter users reported an ongoing clash between ISKP and the local Taliban in Herat. The incident, covered by The Independent Persian, was claimed to be an operation organised by the General Directorate of Intelligence on an alleged ISKP hideout. 


According to reports citing Hamidullah Mutawakkul, the Herat governor spokesperson, the clashes resulted in the death of five ISKP members. RFI, a French news agency, reported that residents confirmed the incident occurred in the Haji Abbas neighbourhood of Herat, located in the Police District 12. Mutawakkul added that out of the five alleged ISKP men killed, two were Tajikistan citizens, whilst the remaining three were Afghanistan citizens. The spokesman did not mention any casualties on the Taliban side of the conflict.


Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesperson of the Islamic Emirate, issued a statement regarding the incident claiming that six ISKP members were killed in the special operation and four captured alive. Mujahid added that, in addition to the men, “a lot of weapons and ammunition have also been found”. According to the Taliban spokesperson, this group was responsible for the attack on a bus in Herat carrying members of the Taliban's al-Farooq Corps on October 27, 2022.


Although ISKP claimed the bus attack on October 27 via their Telegram channels, it is not possible to verify from open sources that the men killed on November 15 were responsible for the bus attack, which resulted in at least four dead and 18 injured.


The General Directorate of Intelligence later released a [WARNING: GRAPHIC] video on November 16, providing unlocatable night time footage of the special operation and close-ups of bodies of alleged ISKP members. According to the GDI’s version of the events, the operation resulted in six ISKP members killed and four captured – the same numbers as Zabiullah Mujahid. However, the information is slightly different from that provided by the Herat governor spokesperson, who claimed that five men were killed and did not mention any arrests. 


Analysis of the [WARNING: GRAPHIC] footage provided by the General Directorate of Intelligence and various photos of the deceased shared on social media shows only four different bodies.


There were rumours the operation was triggered after the Taliban had captured and interrogated a wounded ISKP member in the days beforehand. It is possible the one additional death given by the GDI and Zabiullah Mujahid includes that ISKP member in the total. 

Cover image: Jim Kelly

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