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Afghan Officials: IS Militants Helping Taliban In Kunduz

Afghan forces fighting Taliban militants in Kunduz.

KUNDUZ -- Officials in northern Afghanistan say Taliban fighters who launched an offensive against government security forces last month have been joined by foreign fighters from the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

Kunduz Province Governor Mohammad Omer Safi told RFE/RL that the bodies of 18 foreign militants have been retrieved from areas where battles have been raging since April 24.

He said they included militants from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, and Chechnya.

Provincial police chief Abdul Saboor Nasrati told RFE/RL “We cannot ignore the presence of Islamic State fighters” in the province.

Fighting continued early on May 10 in the districts of Ali-Abad, Chardara, and Imam Sahib as well as the Gul Tepe area on the northwestern side of the provincial capital, Kunduz.

The UNHCR says more than 100,000 displaced civilians are desperately calling for humanitarian assistance.

It says many of the displaced are from Gul Tepe, where the Taliban have fortified positions, and the Imam Sahib district about 50 kilometers north of Kunduz city.