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French, Algerian fighters join Daesh in Afghanistan: Report

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: French and Algerian fighters have joined the ranks of Islamic State (IS), also known as Daesh terrorist in northern Afghanistan, AFP reported, quoting Afghan and international sources.

According to the source, French and Algerian fighters, some arriving from Syria, have joined Daesh in Jawzjan province where the militants have established new bases there.

The report said that it is the first time that the presence of French Daesh fighters has been recorded in Afghanistan and comes as analysts expect that foreigners may be heading for the war-torn country after being driven from Syria and Iraq.

It is also a troubling sign as France, which has faced the worst of the Daesh-inspired violence in Europe since 2015, debates how to handle hundreds of its citizens who went to fight for the group in the Middle East, according to the report.

“A number of Algerian and French nationals entered the largely Daesh-controlled district of Darzab in the northern Jawzjan province in November,” said district governor Baaz Mohammad Dawar.

At least two women were among the arrivals that were traveling with a translator from Tajikistan as well as Chechens and Uzbeks, Dawar added.

The European and Afghan security sources in Kabul confirmed Dawar’s claim that French citizens were among the fighters – though, one cautioned, “we do not know how many there are”.

The report also said that three of the Algerians seen in Darzab are believed to have been in Syria and Iraq, Dawar said, suggesting they may link Islamic State-Khorasan Province (IS-K), the group’s franchise in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the main group in the Middle East.

When it first emerged in 2015, Daesh overran large parts of eastern Nangarhar and Kunar provinces, though initially its part in the Afghan conflict was overshadowed by the Taliban.

The terrorist group has since spread in north, including in Jawzjan on the border with Uzbekistan, and carried out multiple devastating attacks in the capital Kabul.

Mohammad Raza Ghafoori, the Jowzjan provincial governor’s spokesman, said French-speaking Caucasian men and women had been seen training Daesh fighters in Darzab.

He cited reports saying that around 50 children, some as young as 10, have also been recruited by the fighters.

Darzab residents told AFP that roughly 200 foreigners had set up camps just a few hundred meters from the village of Bibi Mariam, according to the report.

However, the government officially has not yet commented on the report.

This comes as recently local officials in Jawzjan province have confirmed that 300 Afghan children are under the military training of Daesh terrorists. It also reported that over 80 percent of Darzab district is under the control of Daesh and the terror group is increasingly recruiting across the province.

It is worth mentioning that Afghan and foreign forces regularly targeted Daesh fighters in different parts of the country. Even the mother of all bombs was dropped on them (Daesh), and ministry of defense always said that Daesh has been defeated. Moreover, President Ashraf Ghani after arriving from a productive visit of Azerbaijan said that Daesh is now fleeing Afghanistan.

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