KABUL – The Islamic State extremist group’s leader in Afghanistan was killed during an April 27 joint raid in eastern Nangarhar province, the Afghan government and US forces said Sunday in Kabul.
Abdul Hasib and a number of other Islamic State commanders were killed during an operation conducted by Afghan special forces, according to a statement from the Presidential Palace.
US forces in Afghanistan issued their own confirmation late Sunday of the deaths of Hasib and “several other high ranking” Islamic state leaders, along with 35 of the group’s fighters.
Hasib is suspected of personally ordering a March 8 attack on a Kabul military hospital, in which 49 people were killed and 76 wounded.
Afghan commandos operate alongside US special forces in Nangarhar, where two US service members were killed on April 26, one day before the raid that killed the Islamic State leader.
General John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, said the “successful joint operation is another important step in our relentless campaign” to defeat the Islamic State movement in the country.
Hasib is the second Islamic State leader in nine months to be killed, along with dozens of commanders and hundreds of fighters, in US-Afghan joint operations, Nicholson said.
He accused Hasib of having ordered local elders beheaded and Afghan women kidnapped as brides for Islamic State fighters.
“I applaud the tremendous skill and courage shown by our Afghan partners,” Nicholson said. “This fight strengthens our resolve to rid Afghanistan of these terrorists and bring peace and stability to this great country.”
US forces have been conducting air strikes for months against Islamic State positions in the province, including the recent use of the largest conventional bomb in its arsenal.
Islamic State has been active in Afghanistan since 2015, but has never had more than 3,000 fighters in the country. -DPA