Taliban and Islamic State militants jointly attacked an Afghan unit in the northern part of the country Saturday, government officials told The New York Times.
The attack killed nearly 50 Afghan local police, militia-men loyal to the government, and surrounding civilians. The militants reportedly beheaded some of the victims, but the Taliban denied cooperation with ISIS in the attack, declaring in a statement to CNN that “it is completely wrong, it is propaganda of our enemy, ISIS is our enemy.”
Officials, however, noted to The New York Times that interactions between the rival terrorist groups are increasingly complex. ISIS and Taliban militants have repeatedly clashed in the eastern part of the country which serves as ISIS’s headquarters in the region, but have may found common ground in the less contentious parts of the country.
“It was a joint [ISIS] and Taliban operation,” the Afghan official in charge of administering the attacked region declared with certainty to reporters after the attack.