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Smoke raises behind an Islamic State flag.

REUTERS

An Afghan general has confirmed for the first time that the extremist Islamic State group is active in the country.

General Mahmood Khan, the deputy commander of the 215 Corp, says that within the past week residents of a number of districts in the southern Helmand province have told him that a man called Mullah Abdul Rauf is recruiting fighters for the group, which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq.

He says Taliban insurgents are resisting the Islamic State presence.

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Some parts of Helmand are not under government control and have seen fierce fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security forces since U.S. troops pulled out more than six months ago.

A video released online Saturday purports to show militants from both Afghanistan and Pakistan pledging support to Islamic State.

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