January 12, 2019 / 4:09 PM / 8 days ago

Islamic State commander killed in Afghanistan, U.S. forces say

KABUL (Reuters) - A senior commander of the Islamic State militant group was killed in Afghanistan in a raid, U.S. Forces Afghanistan said on Saturday.

Khetab Emir was killed in the raid on Jan 10 in the eastern area of Nangarhar province, said Lt. Ubon Mendie, a spokesman for the U.S. forces based in Afghanistan.

Emir, who was known by multiple names, facilitated high-profile attacks and supplied Islamic State fighters with weapons and materials to make explosives, Mendie said in a statement.

“His removal helps protect innocent Afghans from future Islamic State violence and weakens their presence in Nangarhar,” Mendie said.

Islamic State fighters have developed a stronghold in the province on Afghanistan’s eastern border with Pakistan and have become one of the country’s most dangerous militant groups.

The hardline militant group’s local affiliate, known as Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) after an old name for the region that includes Afghanistan, has been active since 2015, fighting the Taliban as well as Afghan and foreign forces.

The fight against Islamic State and other militant groups including Al Qaeda and the Taliban is at the heart of the U.S. led counterterrorism mission being conducted alongside the NATO-led Resolute Support operation aimed at training and advising Afghan security forces.

Reporting by Rupam Jain; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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