Top Afghan ISIS leader killed in operation: report

Top Afghan ISIS leader killed in operation: report
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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced Sunday that Afghan special forces led an operation that killed the head of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Afghanistan, Abdul Hasib. U.S. officials believe Hasib is behind the military hospital attack in March and other high-profile attacks, according to a Reuters report.

The operation took place in the eastern province of Nangarhar, which borders Pakistan, Ghani said. The report has not been confirmed.

Last month, a Pentagon spokesman said Hasib had likely been killed during a joint raid in Nangarhar by U.S. and Afghan special forces, which led to the death of two U.S. army rangers. 

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Hasib became the head of ISIS in the area after U.S. drone strikes killed Hafiz Saeed Khan, the previous leader, last year. The U.S. is committed to defending the Afghan forces in an effort to stave off the spread of terrorism. 

The U.S. military dropped its most powerful non-nuclear bomb on ISIS targets hiding in caves and tunnels in Nangarhar last month, killing an estimated 90 fighters and four commanders. It was also reportedly the first time a Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), nicknamed "mother of all bombs,” was used in battle.

ISIS has been active in the area since 2015, vying for power with the Taliban. 

The local ISIS affiliate is also known as the Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K), which reportedly is connected with ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria.