Abdul Hasib, the Islamic State’s top leader for Afghanistan and Pakistan, was killed last month in a joint Afghan-U.S. operation, the U.S. military said on Sunday, less than a year after the group’s previous leader was also killed.
The raid, conducted by two platoons of U.S. Army Rangers and an equivalent-sized force of Afghan Special Security Forces, began at 10:30 p.m. on April 27 when they were dropped in the Mohmand Valley in the eastern province of Nangarhar.
“Within a few minutes of landing, our combined force came under intense fire from multiple directions and well-prepared fighting positions,” the U.S. military said in a statement. “Nevertheless, our forces successfully closed on the enemy, killed several high-level ISIS-K leaders and upwards of 35 fighters.”
On Sunday, U.S. and Afghan officials confirmed that Hasib was among those killed in the operation. His death comes just 9 months after Hafiz Sayed Khan, the region’s previous ISIS leader, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Nangarhar province.
General John Nicholson, the Commander of U.S. Forces – Afghanistan, called the operation “another important step in our relentless campaign” to defeat the so-called ISIS Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), which covers both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
According to the U.S. military, “hundreds” of ISIS fighters have been killed or captured since Afghan-U.S. forces launched an offensive against ISIS-K in Nangarhar. As a result, more than half of the districts previously controlled by ISIS-K have been retaken by Afghan forces.
During the operation on April 27, two U.S. Army Rangers were accidentally killed by friendly fire during the more than three-hour fight.
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