ISIS leader in Afghanistan killed in airstrike, US says

More than 150 Islamic State fighters surrendered to Afghan security forces this month in the northwestern province of Jawzjan

More than 150 Islamic State fighters surrendered to Afghan security forces this month in the northwestern province of Jawzjan

A drone strike has killed the leader of Islamic State in Afghanistan, Abdu Saad Erhabi, along with his nine commanders.

The deputy spokesperson for Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani announced the death of ISIS-K leader, Abu Sayeed Orakzai, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan spokesman Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell said.

According to officials, Orakzai was killed along with 10 other Daesh fighters in Nangarhar.

The agency also said a large number of weapons, ammunition and explosives were destroyed by the air attacks.

Officials did not say whether the airstrike had been carried out by the Afghan Air Force or foreign forces.

Former ISIS-K leader Abu Sayed was killed in a strike in the eastern province of Nangarhar and Sayed's predecessors were killed in joint USA and Afghan operations.

He is the fourth Afghan leader of the group to be killed in recent years.

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ISIL 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 the raid the group claimed a deadly suicide attack which appeared to target a sit-in protest outside an election commission office in the city of Jalalabad.

The IS affiliate has been active there since 2014, claiming a number of deadly recent attacks.

The group, however, has suffered repeated setbacks amid a bloody turf war with the much larger Taliban.

Estimates of their numbers in the country run as high as around 2,000.

Afghan authorities confirmed at the time about 250 militants surrendered to government forces after fleeing the Taliban onslaught in Jowzjan.

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

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