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Head of IS in Afghanistan killed in airstrike

By Agencies
August 27, 2018

KABUL: The head of Islamic State in Afghanistan, Abu Saad Erhabi, was killed in a strike on the group´s hideouts in Nangarhar province on Saturday night, authorities said on Sunday.

Ten other members of the militant group were also killed in a joint ground and air operation by Afghan and foreign forces, the National Directorate of Security in Kabul said in a statement.

A large amount of heavy and light weapons and ammunition were destroyed during raids on two Islamic State hideouts. The jihadist group´s Amaq´s news agency carried no comment on the issue, and there was no immediate reaction from the Nato-led Resolute Support mission that trains and advises Afghan forces.

The provincial governor of Nangarhar said Erhabi was the fourth Islamic State leader in Afghanistan to be killed since July 2017. The group has developed a stronghold in Nangarhar, on Afghanistan´s porous eastern border with Pakistan, and become one of the country’s most dangerous militant groups.

The exact number of Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan is difficult to calculate because they frequently switch allegiances, but the US military estimates that there are about 2,000.

More than 150 Islamic State fighters surrendered to Afghan security forces this month in the northwestern province of Jawzjan, where the group is fighting for control of smuggling routes into neighbouring Turkmenistan.

Provincial governor´s spokesman Attaullah Khogyani confirmed the leader´s death, also citing a joint operation involving strikes.

US forces in Afghanistan confirmed they had conducted a strike in the location described by Afghan officials, which “targeted a senior leader of a designated terrorist organisation”.