The leader of Isis’ Afghanistan branch has been killed by a US air strike, according to the Pentagon, as the destruction of the jihadists continues across the Middle East and Asia.
Abu Sayed was killed in an air strike at the group’s headquarters in Kunar province earlier this week, Pentagon spokeswomen Dana White said in a statement.
Tuesday’s raid also killed other members of Isis and would “significantly disrupt the terror group’s plans to expand its presence in Afghanistan”, the statement added.
Sayed was the “emir” of ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K), the terror group’s affiliate in Afghanistan, which has been active since 2015, fighting against the Taliban as well as Afghan and US forces.
His reported death makes him the third Isis leader in Afghanistan to be killed by allied forces in the past twelve months.
“ISIS leaders chose Abu Sayed to lead the group after Afghan and US forces killed the previous Isis-K leaders – Hafiz Sayed Khan in late July 2016, and Abdul Hasib, in late April of this year,” the Pentagon statement said.
April’s raid also resulted in the deaths of several other high ranking Isis leaders and 35 of their fighters. Two American soldiers were also killed, possibly through so-called “friendly fire”, officials said at the time.
The announcement of the latest death comes as the fight against Isis and other terrorist groups is being ramped up by the US, with its military reportedly preparing to send an additional 4,000 troops to the region.
General John Nicholson, the commander of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, has pledged to drive the terror group out of Afghanistan by the end of this year.
The death of Sayed follows speculation that the leader of Isis in Iraq, Abu Bakr-al Baghdadi, could also be dead – although his demise has been falsely reported on previous occasions.
The latest claim about al-Baghdadi – described as “the world’s most wanted man” – comes from a prominent Syrian human rights group, who issued a statement saying that three Isis leaders told the group’s activists that their leader was dead.