• An Afghan official said the militant group had beheaded 15 of its own fighters.
  • The self-styled Caliphate is establishing itself in Afghanstan while its territories in Iraq and Syria diminish.

Islamic State (Isis) militants chopped the heads off 15 of their own fighters in Afghanistan on 23 November, according to officials who did provide an explanation for the mass killing.

The executions happened in Nangarhar, near the Pakistani border, where Isis continues to establish a foothold and wrestles for power with the Taliban.

Attaullah Khogyani, the provincial governor's spokesman, told Reuters about the killings but could not explain what brought on the infighting.

The so-called Caliphate has made no official statement about the incident, according to Newsweek.

Other accounts of Isis executing its own fighters in Syria and Iraq have often attributed the murders to retribution for would-be deserters or men suspected of collaborating with opposition forces.

The local Isis branch, known as Islamic State in Khorasan, has been battling for control of the region with Afghanistan's most established insurgency: the Taliban.

The nature of the relationship between the two militias is not properly understood. There have been isolated incidents where fighters from either side appear to have co-operated against common enemies.

Both groups have been targeted by US airstrikes as President Donald Trump intensifies bombings over the region – he has also given his military permission to target opium manufacturers in the poppy-rich nation.

On the same day as the executions, a suicide attack tore through a crowd in Nangarhar's provincial capital, Jalalabad.

So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which targeted a group of people gathered to protest the sacking of a police commander.

Isis istock
Isis have made inroads into Afghanistan Getty