IS regional leader killed in US-Afghan operation: envoy

ISLAMABAD — Top regional leader of the Daesh or Islamic State group, Hafiz Saeed Khan, has been killed in a joint US-Afghan operation, Afghan ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal said on Friday.

“I can confirm that the Daesh leader, Hafiz Saeed Khan, has been killed,” Ambassador Zakhilwal told Pakistani Pashto-language “Mashriq” television in an interview. The interview will be aired on Sunday, management of the Peshawar-based television said.

The Afghan envoy said the IS leader was killed along with several other activists in a US strike on July 26 with ground support from Afghan forces.

The Afghan media has also quoted another military official as confirming the death of Saeed Khan.

Maj. Gen. Mohammad Zaman Wazir, commander of the 201 “Selab Corps”, said at least 23 Daesh commanders, including the commander, Hafiz Saeed, were killed in foreign troops’ drone strikes.

The IS and the US have not commented on the latest claims by Afghan officials. Afghan security officials had claimed the killing of Saeed Khan but their claims later proved to be incorrect.

IS leader Abubakr Al-Baghdadi had appointed him commander of the so-called Khorasan province that comprises Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of Iran and Central Asian states.

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. He was considered as a 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 the Hazara community. The IS had also attacked the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad in January that had killed seven Afghan security personnel. PNA/Xinhua/