A top Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group commander in Afghanistan has reportedly been killed in a US drone strike in the country’s east this week, an Afghan intelligence officer has said.
Shahidullah Shahid, a former member of the Pakistani Taliban who defected to ISIL and was operating in Afghanistan as the group’s third senior most leader, was killed along with five fighters on Tuesday, Hasib Sediqi, spokesman for the Afghanistan National Directorate of Security (NDS), said.
“He wanted to expand IS (ISIL) operations in the country and with his death, it will have an impact on their activities,” he told the Reuters news agency on Wednesday.
ISIL fighters have recently gained ground in the eastern Achin district of Nangarhar province after pushing out the Taliban.
Bordering areas inside Pakistan, Nangarhar is one of the provinces where ISIL fighters are most active.
ISIL loyalists, mostly former Taliban fighters disillusioned by the movement’s unsuccessful bid to return to power in Kabul, are often accompanied by dozens of foreigners, hoisting black flags in several districts in the province.