The Islamic State’s former leader in Afghanistan, Abu Sayed, was only at his post for six weeks before being killed by a July 11 U.S. drone strike, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters Monday.
Sayed is the third ISIS leader in Afghanistan to be killed in the past year after the U.S. and Afghan National Security Forces escalated their military campaign against the terrorist group. Davis noted that Sayed was “directly associated” with senior members of ISIS’s advisory council in Afghanistan, and maintained ties to the group’s other senior leaders.
Another senior ISIS leader in Afghanistan, Mohammed Rathman, was also killed in the strike. Davis clarified that the July 11 strike was conducted under counter-terrorism that authorities granted former President Barack Obama.
ISIS in Afghanistan has morphed from a nascent band of militants in 2015 to a full-fledged threat in the eastern province of Nangarhar. The group controls a relatively small amount of territory but has used it to launch multiple complex attacks on the capital city of Kabul, killing hundreds with its brutal tactics.
“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of ISIS. We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem,” Pentagon Chief Spokesman Dana White declared in a recent interview with Voice of America. White’s statement stands in contrast to the Pentagon’s recent report on the state of war in Afghanistan which claims that the Afghan National Security Forces’ (ANSF) recent efforts, as well as “pressure from the Taliban, and a lack of support from the local populace have diminished ISIS-K’s influence and caused it to decline in size, capability, and ability to hold territory.”
ISIS is just a small facet of the problem facing the U.S. and ANSF in the Afghan war. Taliban insurgents control more territory in Afghanistan than at any time since the war began in 2001, and ANSF is suffering historic casualties.
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