ISIS-K terrorists in Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s ISIS-K in Disarray as Leaders Killed

Islamic Terrorist Leader’s Death Disrupts Group’s Expansion Efforts

The recent death of a terrorist leader in Afghanistan will further disrupt his group’s plans to expand its operations in Afghanistan, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters July 17.

Abu Sayed Killed in US Strike

The death of Abu Sayed, emir of an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria affiliate known as ISIS-Khorasan, was reported July 14. The U.S. strike that killed him also killed other ISIS-K members and marked the third time in the past year U.S. forces in Afghanistan have killed a sitting leader of ISIS-K, Davis said.

“ISIS threatens America in the west because of its commitment to plot, direct and inspire terrorist attacks and its ability to recruit, move and finance the terrorists who commit these attacks,” he said. “The terrorists have been very clear in their propaganda. … They want to recruit and attack globally.”

ISIS-K members in Afghanistan number in the hundreds, Davis said, noting that the group doesn’t hold any meaningful territory in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.

“There are certainly fighters there, but they are mostly spending their time trying to stay alive,” he said. “The Afghan forces partnered with the U.S. forces are keeping constant pressure on them. We assess that they are most active in Nangarhar, Kunar and Nuristan [provinces]. We’ve been putting pressure on them as they try to gain footholds elsewhere.”

DOD Press Release Confirms Kill

According to a statement released by the US Department of Defense:

U.S. forces killed Abu Sayed, the emir of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), in a strike on the group’s headquarters in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, July 11.

The raid also killed other ISIS-K members and will significantly disrupt the terror group’s plans to expand its presence in Afghanistan.

ISIS leaders chose Abu Sayed to lead the group after Afghan and U.S. forces killed the previous ISIS-K leaders – Hafiz Sayed Khan in late July 2016, and Abdul Hasib, in late April of this year.

Afghan and U.S. forces launched a counter-ISIS-K offensive in early March 2017 to drive fighters from Nangarhar and send a clear message to ISIS that there is no sanctuary for their fighters in Afghanistan.

US Drone Strike Reportedly Killed 4 Key IS Commanders

News broke on July 12 that a suspected U.S. drone strike had reportedly killed four key Islamic State commanders in eastern Afghanistan, acording to a provincial security official in Nangarhar cited by Voice of America.The drone strike late Tuesday — which has not been immediately confirmed by the Pentagon — targeted a gathering of IS militants in eastern Kunar province, killing 11 fighters, including four commanders.

“The drone strike targeted IS militants in the Gambir region,” provincial police chief, Juma Gul Hemmat told VOA’s Afghan service. “Four IS commanders along with seven of their fighters were killed in the strike.”

The slain commanders also include Mohammad Rahman who was in charge of the terror group’s financial affairs and Noora, known by his first name, who had the responsibility of recruiting new fighters in the province.

A brother of Rahman was also killed in the strike, according to police chief Hemmat.

Based in southern parts of eastern Nangarhar province, IS’s self-styled Khorasan province branch emerged in early 2015 in the mountainous areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The terror group is active in several districts of eastern Nangarhar province.

IS in Afghanistan has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, some former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to an annual Pentagon report submitted to U.S. Congress .

ISIS-K Expansion

The group has recently expanded its presence and activities to neighboring Kunar province as well.

According to police chief, Hemmat, up to 2,000 IS fighters are active in several districts of Kunar province.

He told VOA that the terror group has established a training base in the Patash valley, where foreign fighters, including Arabs and Pakistanis provide training to new recruits.

Attaullah Khogyani, Nangarhar provincial government spokesperson told VOA that as IS is losing ground in Nangarhar, it is trying to expand to neighboring mountainous Kunar and Nuristan provinces, which share a border with Pakistan to establish a persistent presence there.

Pachiragam District, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan

Pachiragam District, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan

U.S. and Afghan forces have been engaged in joint- counterterrorism operations against IS in eastern Afghanistan. Earlier this year, American military, in partnership with Afghan security forces, promised to eliminate IS in Afghanistan this year. Hundreds of IS fighters, including several senior commanders, have been killed in recent months.

In May of this year, Sheikh Abdul Hasib, the terror group’s leader in Afghanistan was killed in a joint U.S. Afghan forces raid in Nangarhar.

In April, the U.S. Air Force dropped a Massive Ordinance Air Bomb (MOAB), informally known as “the mother of all bombs,” on an IS stronghold in Achin district of Nangarhar, killing at least 95 IS fighters, mostly foreign nationals.

Taliban Driven From Nawa

In Helmand province, Afghan forces, advised by U.S. Marines with Task Force Southwest, retook the Nawa district center from the Taliban today, Davis said, supported by F-16 fighter jets and AH-64 Apache helicopters conducting airstrikes in support of the operation.

“Nawa plays a large role in the security of Lashkar Gah, because it is one of the larger towns that is just south of Lashkar Gah,” Davis said. As part of an expeditionary advising package, he told reporters, Marines with Task Force Southwest are advising Afghan forces to improve command and control, battle tracking, intelligence, maneuver, fires integration, and leadership evaluation and development.

Afghan forces plan to set up security checkpoints throughout the district center and on the route to Lashkar Gah to ensure security, stability and quality of life to the people of Helmand province, Davis said.

Source: US Department of Defense

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *