U.S. forces have killed the leader of the ISIS-Khorasan, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s Afghanistan affiliate, according to the Pentagon.
“[The] ‘Emir’ [died] in a strike on the group’s headquarters in Kunar Province, July 11,” chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said of Abu Sayed in a Friday statement, according to CNN.
Navy Captain Bill Salvin, spokesman of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said Sayed was killed Tuesday by an airstrike from an American drone.
Salvin’s remarks reportedly clarified an initial Pentagon report which described Sayed’s death as stemming from a “raid.”
Some Twitter users on Friday praised U.S. military forces for eliminating a key terrorist leader in Afghanistan.
Bye, bye, Abu Sayed. Tell all the girls hello. You guys ever thought about finding another line of work? You can't win spreading destruction— BobCarter (@BobCarter385761) July 14, 2017
Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters Friday that the death of a leader like Sayed “sets them back for a day, a week, a month.”
“It’s about who it is and what kind of people are below them,” he said. “It is obviously a victory on our side in terms of setting them back, it’s the right direction.”
Gen. John Nicholson, Commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan, said in a statement Friday that Sayed’s death is the latest victory in the campaign against ISIS-K.
“Abu Sayed is the third ISIS-K emir we have killed in the last year and we will continue until they are annihilated,” he said. “There is no safe haven for ISIS-K in Afghanistan.”
Former ISIS-K emir Abdul Hasib was reportedly killed during a joint U.S.-Afghan commando raid last April, following the death of former ISIS-K emir Hafiz Sayed Khan in July 2016.
Afghan and U.S. forces purportedly launched a counter ISIS-K offensive early last March, and Nicholson has vowed to force the terrorist organization from Afghanistan by year’s end.