KABUL, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Militants loyal to the hardliner Islamic State (IS) group, which emerged in the mountainous areas of the eastern Nangarhar along the border with Pakistan's tribal areas in 2015, have expanded their grip to the northern provinces, officials warned.
Governor of northern Zaripul province Mohammad Zahir Wahdat warned that the IS militants have begun activities to recruit fighters in the relatively troubled Saripul province.
In talks with local media, Governor Wahdat, claimed that several Uzbek fighters loyal to the so-called Islamic State group from Uzbekistan have settled along with their families in the restive Sayad district of Saripul province.
Without giving the exact figure of the IS fighters, the governor asserted that numerous Taliban militants have switched side and joined the IS militants in Sayad district, local newspaper the Daily Afghanistan Ma, reported Monday citing governor Wahdat.
Reports on emerging IS militants in the northern region of Afghanistan surfaced amid unleashing cleanup operations against the hardliner group in the eastern Nangarhar province.
Government forces, according to officials in the eastern Nangarhar province launched major offensive dubbed "Shaheen 25" which means "Falcon 25" against IS insurgents in Kot and Haska Mina districts of Nangarhar province on Sunday.
Spokesman for 201 Silab Corps in the eastern region, Major Shir Aqa Faqiri, told reporters that the government forces operations backed by U.S. military would last until dismantling IS hideouts in Nangarhar province and adjoining areas.