The leader of Islamic State’s branch in Afghanistan and Pakistan was killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan on July 26, a US defense official said on Friday on the condition of anonymity.
The Afghan ambassador to Pakistan had said earlier on Friday that a US drone strike had killed Hafiz Saeed Khan, in what would be a blow to efforts by Middle East-based Islamic State to expand its control over territory and its jihadist brand into Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The strike took place in the Kot district of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, the US official said.
Islamic State this week took credit for an attack on a hospital that killed at least 74 people in the Pakistani city of Quetta. A Pakistani Taliban faction also claimed responsibility.
Khan has been reported dead before. Last year, Afghan intelligence agents claimed he had been killed, but the report was never confirmed.
Afghan forces, backed by the American military, killed an estimated 300 Islamic State fighters in an operation mounted two weeks ago, the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan said on Wednesday, calling it a severe blow to the group.