U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan amid ISIS fight

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The group said that they were changing tactics for this year's operation, naming it "Operation Mansour" after the group's late leader who was killed last year in a United States drone strike.

This week Afghan authorities arrested 35 soldiers who served on an army base in northern Afghanistan where the Taliban staged a deadly attack last week as fears grew they had inside help.

New footage came out on Thursday showing the aftermath of the Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) weapon that the U.S. dropped on ISIS fighters in Afghanistan on April 13.

The Afghan conflict is the longest in USA history - US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops have been at war there since 2001, after the ousting of the Taliban regime for refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden following the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

The deployment of the so-called "mother of all bombs" (MOAB) killed at least 95 jihadists, according to the Afghan defence ministry, but fighting in the area has continued.

But the offensive comes with Afghan forces, supported by about 8,400 US troops and 5,000 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation soldiers, facing what visiting US Defence Secretary James Mattis described this week as "another tough year".

Followers were told they can be "suicide attacks, complex attacks and inside attacks" by soldiers or police turning against their peers.

The operation, which forced the defence minister and army chief of staff to resign, was a stark illustration of the struggle facing Western-backed Afghan forces in containing the Taliban insurgency since most North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops left in 2014, leaving a smaller training and advisory mission.


The bombing aimed to erode IS's capabilities in Afghanistan, but it was also seen as a warning to the much bigger Taliban group.

The Afghan Taliban announced on Friday the launch of their annual fighting season to "cleanse their country of foreign aggressors and other corrupt elements".

The report said that as of March this year, 210 children had been killed - up 17 percent from the same period last year.

That report said that the Afghan government had control or influence over only 52 percent of Afghanistan's 407 districts past year, down from 63.4 percent previously. They are largely conducting a training, advise and assist mission aimed at supporting Afghan forces.

Gen. Waziri further added that the Afghan security forces will utilize all the available resources to thwart the plots laid by the Taliban under the name of Mansoori operations in a bid to ensure the protection of the national sovereignty of the country.

In addition to the Taliban, Afghanistan is battling an emerging local Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) affiliate known as Islamic State in Khorasan. Some analysts even argued the strike could boost the Taliban, who had been fighting a turf war with IS in Nangarhar province near the border with Pakistan, where the bomb was dropped.

Analysts have warned that increasing contacts in recent months between Russian Federation and the Taliban could complicate US -led efforts to stabilize Afghanistan.

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