Afghan officials say a top Islamic State commander was killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike in known ISIS territory Friday.
“A commander of Daesh was killed in Kot district of Nangarhar Province,” the Afghan Defense Ministry said in a statement Saturday. Mullah Bozorg was reportedly killed along with several other fighters, along with a large weapons depot the group was using.
ISIS has remained largely nascent in Afghanistan’s Nagarhar province, across from the Pakistani border. The group famously blew up villagers in a propaganda video in early 2015, shut down schools, and mounted attacks on the nearby major city of Jalalabad. The U.S. has conducted nearly 200 airstrikes on the terrorist group since April 2016, limiting its operation capacity.
“They have proved to be irremovable from these areas,” an Afghan-based terrorism analyst told The Guardian.
Another Afghan official elaborated, “Without US or Nato forces, it would take our army and police 10 years to defeat Daesh.” The group remains resilient in four districts in Nangarhar province, where Bozorg was reportedly killed.
Afghan analysts believe the terrorist group has nearly 2,000 recruits throughout Nangarhar province, who frequently use the porous Pakistani border to procure weapons and hide from authorities. The group is rumored to pay a salary of nearly $400 per month to low-level fighters, which far outpaces the average Afghan income.
The average Afghan household income only amounts to $410 per year, making ISIS a lucrative employer in the impoverished region.
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