A screenshot of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who appeared on video for the first time in five years last April. (YouTube)

On Independence Day, Afghan President Vows to Crush Islamic State

Afghanistan’s president has vowed to eliminate all safe havens belonging to the Islamic State, after the terror group claimed responsibility for Saturday night’s bombing at a wedding in Kabul that killed over 60 civilians and wounded nearly 200 others. Ashraf Ghani’s comments came as his country marked its 100th Independence Day, and as the United States and the Taliban are attempting to finalize a peace agreement. Despite the ongoing talks, the Taliban issued two statements Monday, the first questioning why American troops – whom the group wants withdrawn from the country – failed to uncover the ISIS plot in advance; and the second calling on foreign parties to “leave Afghanistan to the Afghans.” In response, the US’ lead negotiator stressed that the peace process with the Taliban should be accelerated and a deal finalized so that attention could be turned to the Islamic State, many members of which have regrouped in Afghanistan following the loss of the terror organization’s strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

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