In a joint raid, US special forces working with Afghan operatives have killed Abdul Hasid, the head of ISIS in Afghanistan, according to the Afghan president. The raid also claimed the lives of several other high-ranking ISIS-K members and another 35 of their fighters. Two US Army rangers, Joshua Rodgers and Cameron Thomas, also fell victim in the attack.
The attack was carried out overnight by 50 US special forces and 40 Afghan commandos on April 26, said Afghan president Ashraf Ghani. Ghani’s statement confirmed what US Captain Jeff Davis already suspected when he said that he believed Hasid had been killed in the raid. The attack was centered on a compound close to the ISIS tunnel network where the “Mother of all Bombs” was dropped on April 13.
Hasid has been high on the US most wanted list for several years. Not only was he responsible for directing the Kabul National Military Hospital on March 8 which killed more than 100 Afghan civilians, but he was also responsible for beheading tribal elders in front of their families, as well as kidnapping women and young girls, later forcing them to marry his fighters. The Pentagon claims the assault to take out Hasid included airstrikes and support from an AC-130 gunship, Apache attack helicopters, F-16 fighter jets and drones.
“This successful joint operation is another important step in our relentless campaign to defeat ISIS-K in 2017,” said General John Nicholson. “This is the second ISIS-K emir we have killed in nine months, along with dozens of their leaders and hundreds of their fighters.For more than two years, ISIS-K has waged a barbaric campaign of death, torture and violence against the Afghan people, especially those in southern Nangarhar.”
“I applaud the tremendous skill and courage shown by our Afghan partners,” Nicholson added. “This fight strengthens our resolve to rid Afghanistan of these terrorists and bring peace and stability to this great country. Any ISIS member that comes to Afghanistan will meet the same fate.”
The attack in eastern Nangarhar Province, along the border with Pakistan, also claimed the lives of two US Army rangers; Joshua Rodgers, 22, of Illinois, and Cameron Thomas, 23, of Ohio. The casualties were most likely to be the result of friendly fire, according to the Pentagon, however, there were no further comments because there is an ongoing investigation into the incident.