The Pentagon confirmed on Saturday that the chief of the Islamic State in Afghanistan and Pakistan Hafiz Saeed (not to be confused with Hafiz Saeed of LeT) was killed in a drone attack last month in Nangarhar province in Afghanistan.
The strike came amid US and Afghan special operations against the IS in the restive country, informed Pentagon deputy press secretary Gordon Trowbridge.
“During this time, US forces conducted an airstrike targeting Hafiz Saeed Khan, the Islamic State in the Levant-Khorasan emir, in Achin district, Nangarhar province July 26, resulting in his death,” Trowbridge said. Saeed became the head of what Islamic State calls ‘Khorasan province’ early in 2015 following Tehreek-e-Taliban’s joining the IS.
File photo of Hafiz Saeed.
Saeed “was known to directly participate in attacks against US and coalition forces, and the actions of his network terrorized Afghans, especially in Nangarhar,” he added.
Afghan authorities had earlier thought that he was killed in July 2015 but it was not so.
Saeed’s death comes six months after another top IS leader, Abdul Rauf Khadim, was eliminated in Afghanistan.
In May, a US drone killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a strike in Pakistan. Yet despite the major successes in the country, Afghanistan has lost five per cent of its territory to Taliban this year and two provincial capitals – Helmand and Kunduz – are under threat.
Afghan security force personnel after a minor victory over the Taliban in Afghanistan’s Nagarhar province. AFP Photo
Recently, the Islamic State claimed responsibility of an attack on a Pakistani hospital that killed 74 people in Quetta. That attacks were carried out despite the death of Saeed points to the fact that a much stronger action is needed to end the Islamic State and Taliban threat in the region.