WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon said that U.S. forces killed the head of the Islamic State group affiliate in Afghanistan in an airstrike in Kunar province earlier this week.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that killing Abu Sayed is significant because the loss of leadership sets insurgent groups back for days or weeks.
IS in Afghanistan is known as the Islamic State-Khorasan group, or ISIS-K. The U.S. and Afghan forces launched an offensive against the IS group in early March, as the militants were gaining a foothold in eastern Afghanistan.
Mattis told Pentagon reporters that taking out a leader creates disarray in the ranks. He declined to provide any additional details on the strike.
A chief Pentagon spokesperson, Dana White, said that Abu Sayed was killed on Tuesday along with other members of the group.
Statement by Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Dana W. White on death of ISIS-K leader in Afghanistan
U.S. forces killed Abu Sayed, the emir of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria - Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), in a strike on the group's headquarters in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, July 11.
The strike also killed other ISIS-K members and will significantly disrupt the terror group's plans to expand its presence in Afghanistan.
ISIS leaders chose Abu Sayed to lead the group after Afghan and U.S. forces killed the previous ISIS-K leaders - Hafiz Sayed Khan in late July 2016, and Abdul Hasib, in late April of this year.
Afghan and U.S. forces launched a counter-ISIS-K offensive in early March 2017 to drive fighters from Nangarhar and send a clear message to ISIS that there is no sanctuary for their fighters in Afghanistan.