Leader of Daesh's Afghanistan branch dead: Pentagon

Leader of Daesh's Afghanistan branch dead: Pentagon

Leader of Daesh's Afghanistan branch dead: Pentagon

WASHINGTON-U.S. forces in Afghanistan killed the head of Islamic State's branch in the country earlier this week, the Pentagon said Friday.

Abu Sayed was chosen to lead the group after Afghan and U.S. forces killed former Daesh-K leaders Abdul Hasib and Hafiz Sayed Khan in April this year and July last year respectively.

Two U.S. Rangers were killed in the operation t0 kill Hasib, the Pentagon said, possibly from "friendly fire".

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Initially the Pentagon identified Sayed being killed in a "raid".

In April, a team of 50 U.S. Army Rangers and 40 Afghan commandos assaulted a hamlet in Achin, a district of Nangahar province, killing Abdul Hasib, Sayed's predecessor as commander of ISIS in Afghanistan, and roughly 30 other militants.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters on Friday that the death of a leader like Sayed "sets them back for a day a week, a month, it's about who it is and what kind of people are below them".

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Sayed's reported death makes him the third Isis leader in Afghanistan to be killed by allied forces in the past twelve months.

General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in Afghanistan, has pledged to drive the terror group out of Afghanistan by the end of this year.

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

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Afghan troops, backed by USA warplanes and special forces, have been battling militants linked to Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan for years. In June, ISIS-K launched an offensive in Osama Bin Laden's former stronghold of Tora Bora, capturing several cave complexes.

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