Jawzjan governor Lotfullah Azizi on Thursday said that Daesh’s nucleus in the province has been completely eradicated.
This comes a day after local officials announced that Mawlawi Habiburrahman, the military head of Daesh, and his deputy for the northern region of Afghanistan, and an estimated 250 of their fighters surrendered to security forces in Jawzjan province.
He said that following this move, Daesh “no longer exists” in the province.
According to him there were a number of foreign fighters in the group but they did not hand themselves over to security forces. These fighters are reportedly from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Indonesia and France.
He said that there was no credible information about the whereabouts of these foreign fighters, but that there is speculation that some of them joined the Taliban but were killed.
“Today we don’t have anyone under the name of Daesh in Jawzjan, some of them were killed during the battles with the Taliban and some others were eliminated as a result of air strikes by the security forces. Over 250 of them have surrendered to the government along with their weapons,” said Azizi.
Meanwhile, Mawlawi Habiburrahman, the military head of Daesh has said that the Afghan government has pledged to maintain their security and that they will not be prosecuted.
“The government has made us certain promises, the government has said that we will join the peace process, if the government wants, we will be hired,” said Daesh commander, Mawlawi Habiburrahman.
When asked about human rights violations and reports of Daesh fighters having raped women in Darzab district, Mawlawi Habiburrahman said: “If someone comes up with evidence to prove this, we are prepared that perpetrators be served justice.”
Children and teenagers are also among those who surrendered to government forces.
Abu Saeed, 16, is one of them.
“I had a gun and was fighting against the Taliban,” said Abu Saeed.
Local officials said the move happened after heavy clashes broke out between Taliban and Daesh in Darzab two days ago.
Darzab has been one of the most insecure districts in the province and has been the scene of heavy clashes in the past three years between government forces, Taliban and Daesh insurgents.
According to the Daesh commander, some foreign nationals – including two French fighters and two Indonesians have joined the Taliban.
“The Taliban came and took over our base, they burnt the houses and escaped and we surrendered to the government,” said one Daesh fighter Abdul Qudoos.
In December, AFP quoting Afghan and international sources, reported that French and Algerian fighters, some arriving from Syria, had joined the ranks of Daesh in the northern Jawzjan province where the militant group had established a new base.
The report said that it was the first time that the presence of French Daesh fighters had been recorded in Afghanistan. At the time analysts also said they expect that foreigners may be heading for the war-torn country after being driven from Syria and Iraq.