Politics

Report: Third High-Ranking ISIS Leader Killed By U.S. Drone Strike in Afghanistan

| by Ethan Brown

A high ranking official of the Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate in Afghanistan was killed along with five others in a United Stated-led drone strike in the eastern part of the country on July 7, according to the Afghan intelligence agency. He is reportedly the third high-ranking ISIS leader in Afghanistan to be killed this year.

According to the National Directorate of Security, Shahidullah Shahid, a former member of the Taliban in neighboring Pakistan, was killed in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan. The province is currently a battleground between members of ISIS and the Taliban, the New York Daily News reported.

“[Shahid] wanted to expand IS operations in the country and with his death, it will have an impact on their activities,” Hasib Sediqi, a spokesman for the Afghanistan National Directorate of Security, told Reuters about the incident.

(Shahidullah Shahid, via TTP/Handout, EPA)

Gul Zaman, ISIS’s second in command in Afghanistan, was also killed in the drone attacks, along with another commander, and 49 fighters working for the Islamic State, according to the report.

The attacks occurred on July 6 and July 7 in “precision strikes” south of Jalalabad, The Pentagon said. Further details were not provided, however.

Originally a member of the Taliban, Shahid was removed from his former position with the terror group after he and five others defected and pledged their allegiance to ISIS in October 2014. Currently, the two terrorist organizations are battling each other over land as ISIS continues to expand its territory into Iraq and Syria, Al Jazeera reported.

The attacks were carried out on the same day that Afghanistan government officials were meeting with Taliban leaders to discuss peace negotiations, as both groups are now enemies of the Islamic State. ISIS has used peace negotiations in the past to add Taliban defectors to their ranks.

“What they’ve done is they haven’t built anything from scratch. They’ve just reached out to disaffected folks,” Seth Jones, a political scientist with the RAND Corp., told USA Today about the current state in the Middle East.

Sources: Al Jazeera, USA Today, New York Daily News

Photo Credit: dronewars.net, U.S. Navy Page/Flickr