Drone 'kills head of Islamic State in Afghanistan'

 Hafiz Saeed Khan
Hafiz Saeed Khan is believed to have been killed by US air strikes in Afghanistan  Photo: Afghanistan National Directorate
Rob Crilly
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The Afghanistan head of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has died in a drone strike, according to militant sources and intelligence officials.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Afghan spy agency, said Hafiz Saeed was among 30 fighters killed by an American air strike on Friday.

Although Isil has only a toehold in the country having secured a small number of defections from other groups, Afghan officials say they fear a new threat from the ultra-violent group even as they continue to battle the Taliban.

As a result, this week brought a number of US strikes against Isil targets in Afghanistan.

"Hafiz Saeed, Isil leader in Afghanistan and Pakistan was killed in a drone strike last night," the NDS said in a statement on Saturday.

"As a result of drone strike in Achin district on gathering place of Daesh, 30 people associated with Daesh including their leader Hafiz Seed were killed."

#Breaking #Afg top spy @RahmatullahN says ISIS leader in Khorasan Hafiz Saeed killed in a drone strike last night.

— Harun Najafizada (@HNajafizada) July 11, 2015

The death of Saeed, named earlier this year as the head of Isil's Khorasan province – combining Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of neighbouring countries – will be a blow to the group's efforts to add the region to its self-declared caliphate.

Two Isil commanders – also defectors from the Pakistan Taliban – told the AFP news agency that they were present when the strike happened during a meeting of leaders.

Saeed's badly mutilated body was buried soon afterwards, they added.

Analysts believe Isil holds a particular allure for militants in South Asia, who have seen al-Qaeda's leadership battered by drone strikes. Switching allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi allows them to tap extra funding from the Middle East and to celebrate Isil victories in Iraq and Syria.

• Latest Isil news

On Friday, Vladimir Putin added his voice to warnings that Isil was moving into Afghanistan.

"We noted the growing activities of the IS group militants who have extended their tentacles into this country," he said after a summit of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation in the Russian city of Ufa.

The strikes come at a crucial time, soon after details emerged of talks between the Taliban and Afghan officials in neighbouring Pakistan.

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Source : telegraph[dot]co[dot]uk
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