Afghan forces backed by US air cover step up anti-ISIS offensive

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Afghan forces backed by US air cover step up anti-ISIS offensive

JALALABAD: (APP/AFP): Afghan forces backed by US airstrikes Tuesday ramped up an offensive against the Islamic State group in their eastern stronghold days after the militants claimed the deadliest attack for 15 years in the capital Kabul.

Afghan troops seized large parts of the mountainous district of Kot in Nangarhar province, a key IS stronghold where the militants set up sharia courts and training camps displaying their trademark black flag.

Some 120 militants were killed in the operation including Saad Emarati, a prominent local IS commander, provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP.

"They have been taught a lesson for their crimes. We will wipe out IS from Nangarhar," said defence ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish.

The offensive follows the twin bombings on Saturday that tore through crowds of minority as they protested over a major power line in Kabul, killing 80 people and leaving hundreds of others maimed.

IS, which controls territory across Syria and Iraq, claimed the bombings in a statement carried by its affiliated Amaq news agency.