U.S. military officials confirm that the head of ISIS in Afghanistan was killed in a raid by U.S. and Afghan forces last month. The raid also resulted in the death of two American soldiers, the military said Sunday.
A statement by U.S. Forces, Afghanistan confirmed that Sheikh Abdul Hasib, described as the Emir of ISIS in the Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), was killed in the April 27 raid in southern Nangarhar province, eastern Afghanistan. The raid that killed Hasib was carried out in the same area where the U.S. dropped the so-called “Mother of all Bombs” last month.
The Pentagon said that more than 50 U.S. Army Rangers and dozens of other partnered Afghan forces battled ISIS for over three hours in the mountain terrain. Two of the Rangers were killed and a third was wounded. It is suspected that the two Rangers, Joshua Rodgers, 22, of Illinois, and Cameron Thomas, 23, of Ohio, killed during the fire fight are believed to be due to friendly fire.
Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said Hasib’s death marked “another important step in our relentless campaign to defeat ISIS-K in 2017.”
Gen. John Nicholson further stated, “This is the second ISIS-K emir we have killed in nine months, along with dozens of their leaders and hundreds of their fighters,”. “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.”
Hasib is suspected of directing the March 8 attack on a military hospital in the Afghan capital, Kabul, that killed 50 people.
The U.S. currently estimates that around 800 ISIS fighters are based in Afghanistan.
Somalia says regional al-Shabab leader is killed in raid.
In separate raid conducted by Somali forces on Friday, killed the regional leader of the al-Shabab extremist group. The lower Shabelle regional leader Moalin Osman Abdi Badil and three associates were killed Friday in Bariire village. This is the same area that where a U.S. service member was killed while supporting combat operations.
The Pentagon has identified the Navy Seal killed in Somalia as SEAL Team Six Member Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken, 38. Both Somalia and the U.S. are stepping up efforts against the Somalia-based al-Shabab, which has carried out attacks in other parts of East Africa and continues to target the Somali capital with deadly bombings.
The statement released on Sunday by Somalia’s information minister says Lower Shabelle regional leader Moalin Osman Abdi Badil and three associates were killed Friday in Bariire village.
The raid came a day after a U.S. service member was killed while supporting an operation by Somalia’s military in the same area west of the capital, Mogadishu. The Pentagon called it the first US combat death in Somalia since 1993, when US forces pulled out of the African country in the wake of the “Black Hawk Down” incident, in which two helicopters were shot down and bodies of American soldiers were dragged through the streets.
Both Somalia and the U.S. are stepping up efforts against the Somalia-based al-Shabab, which has carried out attacks in other parts of East Africa and continues to target the Somali capital with deadly bombings.
On April 6, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed declared war on al-Shabab but at the same time offered the militants amnesty. He said the militants who gave up their arms within 60 days would receive jobs and education.
In recent years, the US military has been supporting Somalia with a small number of special operations forces along with a number of airstrikes against al-Shabab, which has stepped up its deadly bombings in Mogadishu since the new president took office in February.
Somalia’s armed forces are under growing pressure to take full responsibility for the security situation in the country as a multinational African Union force prepares to start withdrawing in 2018.
Somalia has been the scene of deadly clashes between government forces and al-Shabab militants since 2006.
The Takfiri militant group was forced out of the capital by African Union troops in 2011 but still controls parts of the countryside and carries out attacks against government, military and civilian targets.
The group is just one of the challenges facing the new Somali government, which is still struggling to expand its authority beyond the capital.