At least 30 civilians, including children, have been reportedly abducted and killed by militants in the central Afghan province of Ghor, officials said.
The government officials claimed it was a revenge attack by Islamic State militants after a local IS commander was killed.
Ghor Governor Nasir Khazeh was quoted by AFP as saying: “Our security forces with the help of locals conducted an operation and killed a Daesh (IS) commander yesterday. Daesh fighters in return abducted around 30 villagers, mostly shepherds.”
“Their dead bodies were found by local people this morning,” he added.
However, Taliban, who denied responsibility for the incident, said the attack was a result of ethnic rivalries fuelled by a clash over sheep-stealing, Reuters reported.
If the involvement of ISIS confirmed, the latest incident will mark the success of Islamic State’s efforts to expand its presence in Afghanistan.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in March said the local security forces claimed victory over ISIS militants in the country after months-long operation.
But, media reports reveal that ISIS terrorists have continued to launch strikes since its appearance in the country at the end of 2014. Recently in July, IS claimed responsibility for twin explosions in Kabul, killing at least 80 people.
Earlier, NATO said that the group losing its influence in the country and fighters are now confined to two or three districts.
John Nicholson, the top US and NATO commander in the country, said: “Right now we see them (ISIS) very focused on trying to establish their caliphate… inside Afghanistan.”
“Of course with our Afghan partners we have been able to reduce that territory significantly and inflict heavy casualties on them,” he added.
In a major blow to the group, ISIS recently confirmed the death of its propaganda chief, Wa’il Adil Hasan Salman al-Fayad, also known as Abu Mohammed al-Furqan, confirming a Pentagon report that claimed his death earlier.