Daesh chief in Afghanistan and Pakistan killed by US drone

Published 12.08.2016 00:00
Updated 12.08.2016 22:38

The leader of Daesh's branch in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been killed in a U.S. drone strike, the US Ministry of Defense confirmed on Friday.

If true, the death of Hafiz Saeed Khan would strike a blow to efforts by Middle East-based Daesh to expand its control over territory and its extremist brand into Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It would also mark the second U.S. killing of a prominent militant in the region within months. In May, a U.S. drone killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a strike in Pakistan.

Daesh this week took credit for an attack on a hospital that killed at least 74 people in the Pakistani city of Quetta. A Pakistani Taliban faction also claimed responsibility.

Khan has been reported dead before. Last year, Afghan intelligence agents claimed he had been killed, but the report was never confirmed.

On Friday, Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal told Reuters he had seen confirmation from Afghan security forces on Khan's death.

"I can confirm that ISIS Khurasan (Afghanistan and Pakistan) leader Hafiz Saeed Khan along with his senior commanders and fighters died in a U.S. drone strike on July 26 in Kot district of Afghanistan's Nangharhar province," he said.

Daesh also claimed responsibility for an attack on a rally in Kabul in July, which killed more than 80 people.

Afghan forces, backed by the American military, killed an estimated 300 Daesh fighters in an operation mounted two weeks ago, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan said on Wednesday, calling it a severe blow to the group.

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