ISIS leader killed in Afghanistan

Tuesday, 09 May, 2017

Commanders decided on a ground assault, instead of another airstrike, to kill or capture Hasib because women and children were living in his compound, said a US military official who asked not to be identified when providing operational details, adding that none of them had been hurt in the raid.

-Afghan special-forces raid last month, both Pentagon and Afghan officials confirmed.

"For more than two years, ISIS-K has waged a barbaric campaign of death, torture and violence against the Afghan people, especially those in southern Nangarhar", U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson said in a statement on the attack.

The group has claimed responsibility for a series of bloody attacks, including an audacious assault on Afghanistan's largest military hospital in March, when gunmen dressed as doctors stormed the heavily guarded facility and threw grenades into crowded wards.

The most senior Islamic State official in Afghanistan has been killed during a special forces operation.

The 22,000-pound "mother of all bombs" (MOAB) detonated in the Nangarhar Province, on the eastern border with Pakistan, and killed almost 100 ISIS militants.

The deceased has been identified as leader of ISIS Khurasan Abdul Hasib.

The raid targeted a compound in eastern Afghanistan. "The assault force was able to safely separate the women and children from the combatants and there were no civilian casualties", he said. At least 94 fighters, including four commanders, were killed.

Antonio Giustozzi, an Afghanistan expert at King's College London, said the most significant implication of Hasib's killing is that choosing a replacement could prove a divisive issue for the terror group.

ISIS in Afghanistan is believed to maintain links with the main Islamic State movement in Iraq and Syria but has independence. The US military data showed the jihadists have established a strong foothold in Afghanistan in early 2015.

But it has faced armed opposition from the larger and more powerful Afghan Taliban - correspondents say as a outcome, IS has struggled to increase its support or the amount of territory it holds in Afghanistan. However, their current numbers are only half of what they were at their peak.

The raid was conducted near the site where United States military dropped the "Mother Of All Bombs" - a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast device on April 13.

They will simply put another leader in place, he said. Journalists have been prevented from reaching the blast site, but Salvin said fighting was still ongoing in the area.

The attack triggered global shockwaves, as observers questioned the bomb's use against a militant group that is not considered as big a threat to Afghanistan as the Taliban. That number could be increased by several thousand if U.S. President Donald Trump is persuaded by his generals to send more troops.

The Pentagon will ask for 3,000 to 5,000 more soldiers, mainly to advise and train Afghan military and police, according to USA media.