Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

US airstrike kills Islamic State head of media in Afghanistan

US airstrike kills Islamic State head of media in Afghanistan

A USA airstrike in Afghanistan's eastern Nangahar province killed the media director of the Daesh terror group, U.S. forces said late Friday.

Khan's removal "will deprive the group of an experienced media production director and skilled propagandist", U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said.

Such a figure is not unusual for the Afghan military, which loves to claim gaudy death tolls in their highest profile operations, but does conflict with the public narrative that the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan is very small and very aspirational. "With our Afghan partners we will continue to aggressively target ISIS-K and defeat them", Nicholson added. At the beginning of 2016, it was believed up to 3,000 ISIS-K members were active in Afghanistan.

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In April, the USA dropped a massive bomb on an Islamic State tunnel complex in Nangarhar, which the Afghan Defence Ministry said killed more than 90 militants. While previously overshadowed by rival hard-line Sunni Muslim group the Taliban, ISIS-K appears to be strengthening its foothold in the country, and the US has attempted to curb its influence by taking out key leaders.

Islamic State-Khorasan recently chased the Taliban away from Tora Bora, a one-time Osama bin Laden hideout.

On Saturday, an Afghan official told The Associated Press that government forces had recaptured Tora Bora, killing almost two dozen ISIS-K fighters.

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Khan was the latest high-profile ISIS-K leader to be killed by Afghan and US counterterrorism forces.

In the past 10 months, Afghan and United States counter-terrorism forces have eliminated several key Daesh leaders including their emir, Hafiz Sayed Khan and his successor, Abdul Hasib.

USFOR-A said no civilian casualties resulted from the latest strike that killed Khan.

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