KABUL: The ultra-extremist militant group Islamic State released on Monday an audio tape it said was of the movement's leader for Afghanistan, Hafiz Saeed Khan, raising doubts whether he was killed in a US drone strike on Friday.
According to the Afghan intelligence agency, Hafiz Saeed was killed in the Achin district of Nangarhar province late on Friday.
Achin fell to fighters loyal to Saeed last month after heavy clashes with Taliban militants. A former Taliban commander, Saeed switched allegiance to the Middle East-based IS, also known by its Arabic acronym Da’ish, last year, raising its black banner and declaring a ‘province of Khorasan’, covering Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The audio recording posted on Arabic website of Da’ish could not be independently verified and it was unclear from the content when it was recorded.
Da’ish figures have been targets for US drone strikes, which killed three other commanders in the same area in a week, including Shahidullah Shahid and Gul Zaman.
Using the local Pashto language, the speaker on the tape said Dia’ish goal is to implement sharia. He accused the Taliban of selling out to Pakistan. After pushing out Taliban insurgents, Da’ish fighters have in the past two months gained ground in several districts of Nangarhar province.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2015.