ISIS leader, Abu Sayeed Orakzai, who is said to be responsible for recent bombings that left hundreds of civilians dead, was killed in an American drone strike, along with 10 other fighters.
The counter-terrorism strike in Nangarhar province targeting a senior leader of a terrorist group, was launched by the U.S on Saturday, and confirmed by spokesperson for Operation Resolute Support, a NATO-led mission which trains and advises Afghan forces.
The deputy spokesperson for Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani, confirmed that Abu Sayeed Orakzai, Islamic State’s leader in Afghanistan, had been killed. The provincial governor of Nangarhar said Orakzai was the fourth ISIS leader in Afghanistan to be killed since July 2017. The group has developed a stronghold in the province, on Afghanistan’s porous eastern border with Pakistan, and become one of the country’s most dangerous militant groups.
The local affiliate of ISIS, sometimes known as Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) after an old name for the region that includes Afghanistan, has been active since 2015, fighting the Taliban as well as Afghan and U.S. forces.
O’Donnell of Operation Resolute Support said the U.S. “unrelentingly” continues its counter-terrorism efforts against ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and other regional and international terrorist groups.
“These efforts target the real enemies of Afghanistan, the same enemies who threaten America,” he said.
Orakzai is the fourth ISIS leader to be killed since the group emerged in Afghanistan in 2015. “The emir of Daesh in Afghanistan – along with 10 others – was killed,” the National Directorate of Security said in a statement on Sunday.
His death comes just after an audio recording of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi apparently resurfaced, in which he congratulated his followers on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, an Islamic holiday, and referenced Turkey’s recent quarrel with the U.S. over its detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson.
His only public appearance was in 2014 in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. His last know audio recording was released on Sept. 28, 2017, and there have been several reports is his death or injury.