US Strike Kills Islamic State Commander in Afghanistan

In coordination with U.S. Special Forces, Afghan Commandos call in an airstrike on a target building found to be rigged with improvised explosive devices in support of a SOTF-A clearance operation in Nangarhar province Afghanistan, on June 12, 2018. (NATO photo by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Michael Garza)
In coordination with U.S. Special Forces, Afghan Commandos call in an airstrike on a target building found to be rigged with improvised explosive devices in support of a SOTF-A clearance operation in Nangarhar province Afghanistan, on June 12, 2018. (NATO photo by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Michael Garza)

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A U.S. strike over the weekend killed a senior Islamic State commander in eastern Afghanistan, Afghan and U.S. officials said Monday.

The strike in Nangarhar province killed Abu Sayeed Orakzai, a senior leader in the extremist group, according to Shah Hussain Martazawi, deputy spokesman for the Afghan presidency. He said the operation showed the government's "determination to fight terrorism."

Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said American forces launched a counterterrorism strike in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday that targeted a "senior leader of a designated terrorist organization." He did not provide further details.

"These efforts target the real enemies of Afghanistan, the same enemies who threaten America," he said.

An ISIS affiliate that emerged in Afghanistan in 2014 has carried out scores of attacks targeting security forces and the country's Shiite minority. Even with U.S. and NATO support, Afghan security forces have struggled to combat ISIS and the more well-established Taliban.

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