U.S. Special Forces killed the head of the Islamic State group in Afghanistan last month, officials confirmed Sunday. Abdul Hasib died in a joint Afghan-U.S. operation in Nangarhar province April 27, Reuters reported.
Hasib, who had been leading the faction since predecessor Hafiz Saeed Khan died in a U.S. drone strike last year, was believed the architect of several high-profile attacks, including a March 8 attack on Kabul’s main military hospital that left dozens of medical staff and patients dead. Afghan President Ashrab Ghani also has accused Hasib of ordering the beheading of local elders in front of their families and the kidnapping of women and girls, who were forced to marry ISIS fighters.
Two U.S. Army Rangers also died in the attack that killed Hasib, part of an operation that included drone strikes that began in March along the border with Pakistan. Last month, the U.S. dropped “the mother of all bombs” on a network of caves, killing 94 fighters. The April 27 raid killed 35 ISIS fighters, including several high-ranking commanders.
“This successful joint operation is another important step in our relentless campaign to defeat ISIS-K [Islamic State Khorasan] in 2017,” the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson said in a statement from U.S. military headquarters in Kabul.
The Afghan branch of ISIS, also known as the Islamic State Khorasan, aka ISIS-K, after the old name for the region that includes Afghanistan, is believed to maintain links to ISIS but operates independently. The group has suffered massive losses this year, losing control of more than half the districts it had captured since 2015 and fighting both the government and the Taliban.
The Pentagon said Thursday it plans to outline its recommendations on Afghanistan and is expected to urge thousands more troops be committed to break the…