KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A Taliban provincial spokesman says a bomb exploded in a mosque during Friday prayers, wounding 15 people in eastern Afghanistan, where Islamic State group militants have been waging a campaign of violence.
Qari Hanif, the government spokesman for Nangarhar Province, said the bomb appeared to have been planted inside the mosque in the town of Traili, located in the mountainous Spin Ghar area outside the provincial capital Jalalabad.
IS militants have been carrying out nearly daily shootings and bombings against Taliban fighters in the province. IS bombings against mosques in the area have been much rarer, however, since the region is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim. The group is known for bombing mosques belonging to Afghanistan’s Shiite minority that have killed hundreds of people.
Since coming to power in Afghanistan three months ago, the Taliban have been waging a counterinsurgency campaign, vowing to put down the threat from IS.
IS is an enemy of the Taliban. The two groups share a hard-line interpretation of Islam and over the years engaged in some of the same violent tactics, such as suicide bombings. However, the Taliban have focused on seizing control of Afghanistan, while IS adheres to global jihad.
On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Taliban intelligence service told reporters in Kabul that the agency has arrested close to 600 IS members, including key figures and financial supporters. The spokesman, Khalil Hamraz, said at least 33 IS members have been killed in gun battles with Taliban security forces.