Top ISIS leader in Afghanistan killed by US airstrike

Top ISIS leader in Afghanistan killed by US airstrike

By Loree Lewis   
A U.S. airstrike hits an ISIS target in Syria (Photo: DOD screenshot)

Hafiz Sayed Khan was targeted on July 26 in Afghanistan's southeastern Nangarhar Province, according to a Pentagon release.

WASHINGTON (Talk Media News) – Hafiz Sayed Khan, the top ISIS leader in the group’s Afghanistan branch, was killed in a U.S. airstrike last month, the Pentagon said Friday.

Khan was targeted on July 26 in Afghanistan’s southeastern Nangarhar Province, according to a Pentagon release. U.S. and Afghan Special Operations Forces had reportedly been conducting anti-ISIS operations in the area at the time.

“Khan was known to directly participate in attacks against U.S. and coalition forces, and the actions of his network terrorized Afghans, especially in Nangarhar,” Deputy Press Secretary Gordon Trowbridge said in a written statement.

Khan was known as the Emir of ISIS-Khorasan, the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan that has operated mainly in remote areas of eastern Afghanistan along the border it shares with Pakistan.

The majority of the members of ISIS-Khorasan are rebranded from the Pakistani Taliban, according to Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan.

In January, the White House expanded the authorities for its air campaign against ISIS, making it so the U.S. could target ISIS in Afghanistan. Since the new authorities went into effect, the U.S. conducted about 140 airstrikes against ISIS targets in Afghanistan, according to figures provided by the U.S. military.

The Pentagon estimates that there are roughly 1,000 to 1,500 at ISIS-Khorasan militants in Afghanistan, half the number estimated earlier this year.

“We have helped the Afghan Security Forces to reclaim significant portions of the territory that was previously controlled by Daesh. We have killed many Daesh commanders and soldiers, destroyed key infrastructure capabilities, logistical nodes,” Nicholson told reporters during a video news conference two weeks ago, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.

” … We will continue to stay after Daesh until they are defeated here in Afghanistan.”

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