- The Washington Times - Monday, May 8, 2017

The leader of Islamic State’s Afghan faction was killed in joint night raid by U.S. and Afghan special forces in eastern Afghanistan last month, American commanders confirmed Monday.

Sheikh Abdul Hasib, the so-called emir of the Afghan cell known as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria-Khorosan Province or ISIS-K, was killed along with 35 other fighters and several of the group’s senior leaders during the April 28 operation in Nangarhar province.

Two Army Rangers, Sgts. Joshua Rodgers and Cameron Thomas with 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, were also killed during the operation. Command officials at coalition headquarters in Kabul are investigating whether the deaths of Sgts. Rodgers and Thomas were the result of friendly fire.

Hasib is the second ISIS-K leader to have been killed by Afghan and coalition forces in the last year. Former chief Hafiz Saeed was killed during a U.S. drone strike on the group’s stronghold in Nangarhar province last August.

“This successful joint operation is another important step in our relentless campaign to defeat ISIS-K in 2017,” Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said in a statement issued Monday on Hasib’s death.

“For more than two years, ISIS-K has waged a barbaric campaign of death, torture and violence against the Afghan people, especially those in southern Nangarhar,” the four-star general said, adding ongoing operations against ISIS-K “strengthens our resolve to rid Afghanistan of these terrorists and bring peace and stability to this great country.”

An American drone strike killed Mullah Abdul Rauf, the Islamic State’s chief in southern Afghanistan in February 2015. Two other senior ISIS commanders, Shahidullah Shahid and Gul Zaman, were killed months later in a U.S. drone strike.

Saeed and Shahid had both been top commanders with the Pakistani Taliban before shifting allegiances to the militant group based in Syria and Iraq.

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