The Pentagon and U.S. military officials have confirmed on Friday that a top terrorist leader has been killed in a recent raid.
Abu Sayed, the head of an ISIS affiliate known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Khorasan (ISIS-K), was killed by U.S. forces during a strike on July 11 in Kunar province, Afghanistan, during a raid of the group’s headquarters, according to Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Dana W. White.
“These barbaric terrorists are an anathema to the people of Afghanistan,” said U.S. Army General John Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A). “The barbarism and cruelty that they show to the people of Afghanistan must be stopped and we will work closely with our Afghan partners to eliminate this scourge from Afghanistan. There is no sanctuary for ISIS inside Afghanistan and we will not stop until they are eliminated from this country.”
“The raid also killed other ISIS-K members and will significantly disrupt the terror group’s plans to expand its presence in Afghanistan,” White said, according to the Department of Defense.
ISIS-K is an affiliate of ISIS. Sayed was selected to lead the group after Afghan and U.S. forces killed his predecessors, Hafiz Sayed Khan in July of last year, and Abdul Hasib in April this year, White said.
“Afghan and U.S. forces launched a counter-ISIS-K offensive in early March to drive fighters from Nangarhar province, which borders Kunar to the south, and send a clear message to ISIS that there is no sanctuary for their fighters in Afghanistan,” White said, according to the statement.
This is the third time in the past year that a sitting ISIS-K leader has been taken out by U.S. forces.
“ISIS threatens America in the west because of its commitment to plot, direct and inspire terrorist attacks and its ability to recruit, move and finance the terrorists who commit these attacks,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said, according to the Department of Defense. “The terrorists have been very clear in their propaganda. … They want to recruit and attack globally.”
“ISIS-K members in Afghanistan number in the hundreds, Davis said, noting that the group doesn’t hold any meaningful territory in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province,” the Defense Department reported.
“There are certainly fighters there, but they are mostly spending their time trying to stay alive,” Davis said. “The Afghan forces partnered with the U.S. forces are keeping constant pressure on them. We assess that they are most active in Nangarhar, Kunar and Nuristan [provinces]. We’ve been putting pressure on them as they try to gain footholds elsewhere.”