US drone strike kills Isis deputy in Afghanistan
US drone strike kills Isis deputy in AfghanistanReuters

Islamic State's (Isis) deputy commander in Afghanistan has been killed in a US drone strike in the country's northern province of Helmand, according to reports.

Mullah Abdul Rauf's car was bombed by a drone on Monday (9 February), officials said, killing the militant who only recently pledged allegiance to the group having defected from the Taliban.

Six people were killed in the bombing, including former Guantanamo detainee Rauf and his brother-in-law. Four Pakistanis were also in the car, according to police chief Nabi Jan Mullahkhel.

The vehicle in which they were travelling was loaded with ammunition and exploded, according to witnesses, as cited by the BBC.

Afghan intelligence said Rauf was in charge of recruiting militants for IS in south-western Afghanistan and was killed in a "successful military operation". Police reports said his associates were dressed in typical IS outfits when they were targeted.

Rauf was named as deputy leader of IS in "Khorasan" - an old name for Afghanistan - by the group.

Leader of a Taliban unit before the US sent troops in 2001, Rauf was believed to be operating on behalf of IS in the heart of the Taliban land where coalition forces withdrew in October 2014.

A tribal leader told AP that the veteran Islamist militant raised black flags and tried to bring down the white Taliban flags in some areas. "There are reports that 19 or 20 people have been killed" in sectarian fighting between Taliban and IS, Saifullah Sanginwal told AP.

Rauf, also known as Abdul Rauf Aliza and Maulvi Abdul Rauf Khadim, spent six years at Guantanamo Bay after he was captured by US forces in 2001. He reportedly tried to pass himself as a low executive for the Taliban who "delivered bread" - but interrogators suspected he was more senior.

He was transferred to Afghanistan for "continued detention" but authorities eventually released him. He became a shadow governor in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan, according to the Long War Journal.