SHIBERGHAN, Afghanistan, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Scores of fighters have been killed as the armed Taliban outfit and the rival Islamic State (IS) group engaged in fierce fighting in Darzab and Qush Tepa districts of the northern Jawzjan province over the past one week, local officials said Wednesday.
Darzab district in Jawzjan province has been regarded as the main bastion of the Islamic State group in north Afghanistan since the hardliner group emerged in the northern region, capturing Taliban base there nearly two years ago.
The hardliner group has expanded its influence from Darzab to the neighboring Qush Tepa and nearby Sari Pul province, challenging the Taliban outfit's presence in the northern provinces.
To overcome the challenge, Taliban militants stormed the positions of IS group in Qush Tepa and Darzab districts last Thursday and since then skirmishes have been continuing between the rival groups which claimed many lives from both sides, an army spokesman Mohammad Hanif Rezai said.
IS militants in latest offensives attacked Taliban positions in Darzab district. Besides inflicting casualties, it also captured and beheaded Taliban senior commander Mullah Burjan on Wednesday, Jawzjan provincial government spokesman Reza Ghafoori said.
The IS militants also attacked the house of a Taliban commander in Sayyad district of Sari Pul province on Tuesday, killing at least 15 people and injuring five others, provincial government spokesman Zabihullah Amani asserted.
According to Hanif Rezai, an army spokesman in the northern region, scores of fighters from both the rival groups have been killed since eruption of fighting last Thursday. Taliban militants have also captured and killed three women who used to fight alongside IS group over the past one week, the official said.