'Afghanistan-Pakistan IS chief killed'

  • 12/07/2015
'Afghanistan-Pakistan IS chief killed'

The head of the Islamic State group in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region has been killed in a drone strike in eastern Afghanistan, intelligence officials and militant commanders say.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Afghan spy agency, on Saturday said Hafiz Saeed was among 30 IS-linked cadres killed in the strike in restive Nangarhar province, close to the Pakistani border, on Friday.

Two IS-affiliated commanders in Afghanistan who said they were present when the strike happened confirmed Saeed's death to AFP.

The IS presence in Afghanistan is still thought to be at an embryonic stage and the killing of Saeed will come as a blow to the group's efforts to establish itself as a serious force.

"As a result of drone strike in Achin district on gathering place of Daesh, 30 people associated with Daesh including their leader Hafiz Seed were killed," the NDS said in a statement on Saturday.

Daesh is another name for IS.

The two militant commanders, who used to be with the Taliban, speaking to AFP by phone from an undisclosed location, said they were present when the drone strike happened.

The strike took place while a meeting of the commanders was going on, they said.

It comes less than six months after a drone strike in Afghanistan killed Abdul Rauf Khadim, who was thought to be the IS number two in the country.

Fierce clashes have been reported in recent months between fighters newly aligned with IS and Taliban cadres determined to preserve their dominance.

NATO ended its combat mission in Afghanistan in December, leaving local forces to battle the Taliban alone, but a residual force remains for training and counter-terrorism operations.

A spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan confirmed a "precision strike" was carried out in Nangarhar on Friday but did not give details of the target.