KABUL (TCA) — The leader of the Islamic State (IS) group’s branch in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been killed in an air strike late last month in a border region between the two countries, RFE/RL reported citing U.S. and Afghan officials.
Hafiz Saeed Khan was killed in a U.S. drone strike in the Kot district of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province on July 26, an unidentified U.S. defense official was quoted as saying on August 12.
The Afghan ambassador to Pakistan, Omar Zakhilwal, told Reuters that he had seen confirmation from Afghan security forces on Khan’s death.
Saeed Khan was named head of IS group’s “Khorasan Province,” which includes Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of neighboring countries, early last year when a group of Pakistani Taliban pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Saeed Khan, a former senior leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), was the chief IS leader in Afghanistan after he pledged allegiance to IS in late 2014, Xinhua reported. He was considered as the hardliner with anti-Shiite approach within the TTP. He once served as the TTP chief for Orakzai tribal region in Pakistan.
Saeed Khan masterminded attacks including the group’s first ever deadliest in Kabul last month, killing nearly 80 people belonging to Hazara community. IS had also attacked the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad in January that had killed seven Afghan security personnel.
Afghan security officials had claimed the killing of Saeed Khan but their claims later proved to be incorrect.