Mazar-I-Sharif (Afghanistan): A high-ranking Islamic State commander in Afghanistan has been killed in an airstrike, officials said today, as Afghan and US forces dial up attacks on the militant group.
Qari Hekmat was the top commander of IS Afghan franchise in the nor thern province of Jowzjan, where the group established a stronghold after coming under intense pressure in the eastern province of Nangarhar.
Hekmat was killed Friday in an Afghan airstrike in Darzab district, the defence ministry said in a statement, describing him as “one of the key figures” for IS in northern Afghanistan.
He was involved in or responsible for “deadly terrorist attacks” and has been replaced by Mawlawi Habib-ul-Rahman, the ministry added.
Provincial governor Lutfullah Azizi confirmed Hekmat had been killed but said US Forces carried out the airstrike.
“Our intelligence sources have identified his body. His death will affect the recruitment of Daesh and disperse IS fighters in Afghanistans north,” Azizi said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.