Hafiz Saeed Khan, the top Islamic State leader in Afghanistan and Pakistan, along with more than 30 other insurgents, has been killed by American military drones. He is the fourth ex-Taliban, who declared loyalty to the Middle East-based militants, to have been killed in one week.
Hafiz Saeed Khan, a Pakistani national, was chief of ISIS in the “purported State of Khorasan,” explained the Afghan intelligence service (NDS). He was was killed in the Nangarhar province on Friday. The American military has been relying heavily on local intelligence offered by Afghan intelligence officials. These men have been covertly relaying whereabouts and possible hideouts of IS militants. Saeed Khan had convened with 30 other insurgents and was believed to have been plotting his next offensive, when American drones rained bombs, reported The Cubic Lane.
Though U.S. Army Colonel Brian Tribus confirmed Americans carried out an airstrike in Nangarhar’s Achin District and targeted “individuals threatening the force,” he stopped short of confirming the news about Saeed Khan’s death. Nonetheless, the death of Hafiz Saeed Khan is a critical step ahead in the fight against the barbaric IS.
Hafiz Saeed was initially a commander of the Pakistani branch of the Taliban. Though he swiftly rose in the ranks, he is suspected to have felt dissatisfied with the organization. Many in the Taliban complained the organization had gone soft, before enrolling themselves in IS, which is way more cruel and vicious in its terror tactics, reported the Daily Mail. In fact, the Taliban has condemned the sadistic atrocities committed by the IS in the name of jihad.
While details are still sketchy, it is believed that another airstrike in the Nangarhar province on Tuesday resulted in the death of Gull Zaman and Shahidullah Shahid, reported MSN. While Zaman is widely acknowledged as the second-highest official in the local Islamic State affiliate, Shahid is thought to be the group’s chief spokesman in Afghanistan, Afghan intelligence officials said.
The Afghan government has repeatedly cautioned that the Islamic State group is gaining a foothold in Afghanistan and is believed to be active in at least three provinces. Hence it’s no surprise America has stepped up its offensive and has been increasingly using drones for precision air strikes. Its laser guided, heat seeking missiles are said to be quite accurate with minimum collateral damage.
Interestingly, the Taliban, which has always been at war with the local government, has warned the Islamic State group to stay out of Afghanistan. It is unclear if the terror group mourns the death of its former comrades like Hafiz Saeed Khan.
[Image Credit | Afghanistan National Directorate]