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‘IS fighters’ attack Afghan police checkpoints – US, allies review pullback options

JALALABAD, Afghanistan, Sept 27, (Agencies): Self-proclaimed fighters from the Islamic State group have for the first time launched coordinated attacks on police checkpoints in an eastern Afghan province, officials said Sunday. The raids on eight to 10 police posts began early Sunday, Haji Ghalib, governor of Achin district in Nangarhar province, told AFP, giving no casualty figures. “This is the first time that DAESH fighters have launched coordinated attacks on police checkpoints in Nangarhar,” he said. DAESH is an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State (IS) group, which controls wide swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.

The attacks in Achin were confirmed by the border police commander in eastern Afghanistan, Mohammad Ayoub Hussainkhail. They came a day after a UN report warned that IS was making inroads in Afghanistan, winning over a growing number of sympathisers and recruiting followers in 25 of the country’s 34 provinces. Afghan security forces told UN sanctions monitors that about 10 percent of the Taleban insurgency are IS sympathisers, according to the report by the UN’s al-Qaeda monitoring team.

Meanwhile, US and allied defense officials, increasingly wary of White House plans to scale back the US presence in Afghanistan, are reviewing new drawdown options that include keeping thousands of American troops in the country beyond the end of 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

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