ARLINGTON, Va., The top leader for the Islamic State’s Afghanistan branch was killed by U.S. forces in a strike last month, the U.S. Department of Defense said Friday.
Hafiz Sayed Khan was killed in the July 26 airstrike, the Pentagon announced, in the nation’s southern Nangarhar province. Officials said U.S. and Afghan special forces carried out the operation.
“Khan was known to directly participate in attacks against U.S. and coalition forces,” Deputy Press Secretary Gordon Trowbridge said in a statement. “The actions of his network terrorized Afghans, especially in Nangarhar.”
Khan’s death marks another accomplishment for U.S. and coalition forces in the Middle Eastern nation, which has seen a continuous American presence since 2001.
The strike that killed Khan was just one of several conducted in Afghanistan during the month of July, Defense officials said.
“Khan’s death affects ISIL-K recruiting efforts and will disrupt ISIL-K’s operations in Afghanistan and the region,” Trowbridge added. “Nangarhar province has been a hotbed for ISIL-Khorasan activity since the summer of 2015.”
Several other operatives of the Islamic State, which has a growing presence in Afghanistan, were also reportedly killed in July.
U.S. officials said Nangarhar province is a region where militants routinely train, equip and control terrorist operations.
By Doug G. Ware