Islamic State Leader in Afghanistan Killed in Airstrike, U.S. says
A member of ISIS waving the Flag (Photo: wikimedia commons)

After a month of blood-letting through suicide attacks at various targets carried out by Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan, Afghan and Coalition forces carried out targeted airstrikes that killed the Islamic State’s Afghanistan chief.

Abu Sayed Orakzai, also known as Sad Arhabi, and 10 other Islamic State fighters were killed Saturday night in an airstrike in Nangarhar province, according to provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogyani.

The strike was carried out by Afghan and coalition forces after receiving intelligence from Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security, Khogyani said.

U.S. Forces-Afghanistan spokesman Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell confirmed that the U.S. targeted a "senior leader of a designated terrorist organization" in Afghanistan on August 25. He pointed to a statement by a spokesman for Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani that the head of ISIS -- called Daesh by the U.S. military -- in Afghanistan was killed in the strike.

"I would also add that the United States unrelentingly continues its counterterrorism efforts against ISIS-K, Al-Qaeda, and other regional and international terrorist groups," O'Donnell said in a statement.

The air attacks on a village in Khugyani district, near the border with Pakistan, also destroyed a large number of weapons, explosives, and ammunition, the agency said.

Erhabi was the fourth IS leader killed in Afghanistan since the group emerged there in early 2015. Erhabi succeeded Abu Sayed who was killed in a U.S. drone attack in early July.

Islamic State has a relatively small but potent presence in Afghanistan, mainly in Nangarhar - the birthplace of the group's Afghan branch - but more recently in the northern province of Jowzjan where it is fighting for control of smuggling routes into neighbouring Turkmenistan.

Hours before Saturday's air raids, the group claimed a deadly suicide attack that targeted a sit-in protest outside an election commission office in the city of Jalalabad. Islamic State has claimed a number of attacks in recent weeks, including assaults on several government installations in Kabul and a bombing at a school in a Shia area of the capital that killed at least 37 people.