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US claims killing chief of IS in Afghanistan

Sunday, July 16, 2017
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(AFP) - US forces killed the leader of the militant Islamic State group’s Afghanistan branch in a raid earlier this week in the northeastern province of Kunar, the Pentagon said on Friday.

“US forces killed Abu Sayed, the emir of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — Khorasan province (ISIS-K) — in a strike on the group’s headquarters in Kunar province” on July 11, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement.

“The raid also killed other ISIS-K members and will significantly disrupt the terror group’s plans to expand its presence in Afghanistan.”

First emerging in 2015, ISIS-K overran large parts of Nangarhar and Kunar provinces, near the Pakistan border, but their part in the Afghan conflict had been largely overshadowed by the operations against the Taliban.

Afghan and US forces had killed Abu Sayed’s two predecessors atop the group’s Afghan branch — Hafiz Saeed in July 2016 and Abdul Hasib in late April of this year, the Pentagon said.

Hasib and other top militant leaders were killed in a joint raid by US Army Rangers and Afghan special forces.

At the time, the US military had said that Hasib’s death would “help reach our goal of destroying them in 2017”.