US officials said on Friday (14 July) that the head of so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria - Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), Abu Sayed, has been killed in a raid on the group's headquarters in Kunar Province, Afghanistan.
The Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said in a statement that the strike on 11 July also killed other Isis-K members and added that the operation was conducted to weaken the terror group's foothold in Afghanistan.
Secretary of US Defense James Mattis said 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. It is obviously a victory on our side in terms of setting them back, it's the right direction".
General John Nicholson, the commander of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, said that this operation "is another success in our campaign to defeat ISIS-K in Afghanistan in 2017". He also said that Sayed was the third Isis-K head that has been killed in a year. "There is no safe haven for ISIS-K in Afghanistan."
According to reports, Sayed was chosen to lead the group after the previous leaders were killed by the Afghan and US forces. Hafiz Sayed Khan was killed in late July 2016 while Abdul Hasib was killed in late April this year.
The April strike holds a great significance for the US and Afghan forces as it resulted in the deaths of several other high ranking leaders of Isis-K, the terror group's regional branch, and 35 Isis fighters.
Isis has continued to struggle to expand its foothold in Afghanistan and Kunar is one of its main strongholds along with the eastern province of Nangarhar.
The terror group had announced that it was increasing its support in Afghanistan and Pakistan when it declared its so-called Isis-K in 2015.
But a counter Isis-K offensive was launched by Afghan and US forces in early March 2017 and General Nicholson has said that the forces will drive the terror group out of Afghanistan by the end of 2017.