A U.S airstrike last month reportedly killed the leader of the Islamic State group’s Afghanistan branch according to the Pentagon.
The July 26 strike in the Achin district of Nangarhar province resulted in the death of Hafiz Saeed Khan, the Pentagon said Friday, according to The Hill.
Khan had been reported dead last year when Afghan intelligence agents claimed he was killed. That report was never confirmed, however.
“Khan’s death affects ISIL-K recruiting efforts and will disrupt ISIL-K’s operations in Afghanistan and the region,” deputy press secretary Gordon Trowbridge said in a written statement. ISIL-K is the Pentagon’s acronym for the Afghanistan branch of ISIS.
“Khan was known to directly participate in attacks against U.S. and coalition forces, and the actions of his network terrorized Afghans, especially in Nangarhar,” Trowbridge said.
Earlier Friday, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan said that Khan had been killed.
Khan, a former commander of the Pakistani Taliban, pledged allegiance to ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last year.
There are an estimated 1,000 to 1,500 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan, according to U.S. officials, the Hill reported. That is a decrease in number from 3,000 in January. It is believed that most of the ISIS fighters in Afghanistan are former members of the Pakistani Taliban.
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