KABUL/WASHINGTON: The head of Islamic State in Afghanistan, Abdul Hasib, has been killed in an operation led by Afghan special forces in the eastern province of Nangarhar, President Ashraf Ghani said on Sunday.
Hasib, appointed last year after his predecessor Hafiz Saeed Khan died in a US drone strike, is believed to have ordered a series of high profile attacks including one in March on the main military hospital in Kabul by a group of militants disguised as doctors, a statement said.
Meanwhile, US military officials also confirmed that US and Afghan troops killed the leader of the IS’s Afghanistan affiliate in an April raid, US military officials confirmed on Sunday.
US aims to eliminate Islamic State from Afghanistan in 2017
The raid in Nangarhar province targeted the leader, Abdul Hasib, US-Forces Afghanistan said.
It said earlier that if confirmed, the death of the Hasib and his associates would "significantly degrade ISIS-K operations in Afghanistan and help reach our goal of destroying them in 2017."
The local affiliate of Islamic State, sometimes known as Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K), after an old name for the region that includes Afghanistan, has been active since 2015, fighting both the Taliban as well as Afghan and US forces.
Islamic State Afghanistan leader likely killed: Pentagon
It is believed to maintain links with the main Islamic State movement in Iraq and Syria but has considerable operational independence.
US and Afghan special forces, backed by drone strikes and other air support, have waged a series of operations against IS-K this year, killing dozens of their fighters, mainly in Nangarhar, on the border with Pakistan.
Defeating the group remains one of the top US priorities in Afghanistan and last month the United States dropped its largest non-nuclear device on a network of caves and tunnels used by ISIS in Nangarhar, killing 94 fighters, including four commanders.