Afghan official says IS suicide bomber kills 20

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Latest on developments (all times local):

4:25 p.m.

An Afghan official says an Islamic State suicide bomber has killed 20 people in northern Afghanistan, including a Taliban commander.

Abdul Qayuom Baqizoi, provincial chief police of northern Sar-i-Pul province, said the attack Tuesday took place as village elders met with Taliban officials in the area.

In northern Afghanistan, Taliban and the Islamic State group have been waging bitter battles in recent days. As many as 100 insurgents from both the Taliban and Islamic State have perished in recent battles, said Baqizoi.

Provincial council chief Mohammed Noor Rahman said the explosion occurred in a mosque as a funeral was taking place.

The area is remote and it was impossible to reconcile the differing accounts.


11:30 a.m.

An Afghan official says at least 54 people, including security personnel and civilians, have been released from a Taliban prison in southern Helmand province.

Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor, said Tuesday the prisoners were freed after a commando unit raided the prison late Monday night in Musa Qala district.

Zwak said there were 32 civilians, 16 police, four soldiers and two military doctors who had been locked up by the insurgents.

He said security forces were still securing the area.

The Taliban did not immediately comment on the raid, but the insurgents are in control of the majority of the districts in Helmand, where they have increased their attacks against provincial officials and security forces.

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