The leader of the Islamic State (Isis) in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been killed in a US drone strike, the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan confirmed. Daesh (Isis) warlord Hafiz Saeed Khan was killed in a joint US-Afghan operation on 26 July, according to Afghan Ambassador to Islamabad Dr Omar Zakhilwal.
Khan, who was 44, was once a member of the Pakistani branch of the Taliban known as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and swore allegiance to IS chief Abu Bakhr al-Baghdadi in 2014. Also known as Mulla Saeed Orakzai, he was leader of the so-called Khorasan branch of IS.
He was said to have been killed in Nangharhar, and if his death did indeed take place on 26 July, it came the day after another top IS chief was among 122 militants killed by the Afghan army in the same province. Senior commander Saad al-Emarati who had the title "the emir of the eastern province of Wilayat Khorasan".
Afghan troops were beginning a purge of IS positions and al-Emarati was killed in an overnight offensive in response to twin suicide blasts on 23 July which ripped through the Afghan capital of Kabul killing as many as 81 people and injuring 230 others.
Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal told Reuters: "I can confirm that ISIS Khurasan leader Hafiz Saeed Khan along with his senior commanders and fighters died in a U.S. drone strike on July 26 in Kot district of Afghanistan's Nangharhar province."
US Authorities and indeed IS themselves have failed to comment on Khan's killling. Afghan security officials had previously claimed they had killed the jihadi in a US drone strike on 11 July last year, which later proved to be false.
Little is known about Khan, but reports say he was born in 1972 in the town of Mamozai in the Orakzai Agency, a tribal area of Pakistan near the Afghan border. On 15 October 2014, Khan abandoned the TTP, along with five other Taliban leaders, and pledged allegiance to Isis chief al-Baghdadi.
Saeed's fellow defectors were the TTP's former spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid; its Khyber Agency chief, Gul Zaman; Peshawar chief Mufti Hassan; Kurram chief Hafiz Quran Daulat, and Hangu chief Khalid Mansoor.