2 police killed in clash with IS gunmen in Afghan capital

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A gunbattle in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul left at least five people dead Wednesday, including two Taliban police and three Islamic State group gunmen, a Taliban official said.

Khalid Zadran, the Taliban spokesman for the Kabul police chief, said police had launched an operation against the gunmen’s hideout, killing at least three in the Karti Sakhi neighborhood in western Kabul. He said the gunmen were Islamic State group fighters.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

One of the police officers killed was a woman, said Zardan. He said four Taliban police were wounded and one gunman was arrested.

The regional affiliate of IS, known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, has increased attacks on mosques and minorities across the country. It has been operating in the country since 2014.

IS is seen as the greatest security challenge facing the country’s Taliban rulers. Since the Taliban seized power in Kabul and elsewhere in the country last August, the Taliban have launched a sweeping crackdown against the IS headquarters in eastern Afghanistan.

Wednesday’s gunbattle took place near the Sakhi shrine in the minority Shiite neighborhood where people were busy preparing for the upcoming Ashura holiday. Ashura is the 10th day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic lunar calendar.

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