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President Ghani claims victory over ISIS in Afghanistan

President Ghani claims victory over ISIS in Afghanistan

Security forces have “obliterated” Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) militants in Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani has said. The statement came hours after a prisoner swap with Taliban insurgents raised hopes of a lull in violence in the country.

More than 600 IS fighters have surrendered with their families to the Afghan government in past weeks, Reuters reported. Airstrikes by Afghan and coalition forces, lack of funds and low morale have forced the group to give up, officials say.

“No one believed one year ago that we would stand up and today be saying we have obliterated IS,” Ghani told a gathering of elders and officials in Jalalabad on Tuesday.

Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban official spokesperson, said that the Kabul administration “had 0 percent role in defeat of [IS] and the proud people of Nangarhar are witnesses.” The Taliban, which has been battling IS and the government, controls more territory than at any point since the US invasion in 2001, including sections of Nangarhar province.