WASHINGTON, Aug 12 (Xinhua) — The head of Islamic State in Afghanistan was killed in a U.S. drone strike last month, the Pentagon said Friday.
Hafiz Saeed Khan was killed on July 26 in the Achin district of Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, said Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Gordon Trowbridge in a statement.
Khan, a former senior leader of the Pakistani Taliban, was appointed head of the IS's branch in Afghanistan in January 2015 after pledging allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to a U.S. Treasury sanctions notification last year.
Khan helped establish training camps in western Afghanistan for the IS and was responsible for a series of suicide attacks that killed up to 30 people in Jalalabad in April 2015, the Pentagon said.
"Khan was known to directly participate in attacks against U.S. and coalition forces, and the actions of this network terrorized Afghans, especially in Nangarhar," said Trowbridge.
Nangarhar has been a hotbed for IS presence since last summer.
"Khan's death affects ISIL-K (the Pentagon's acronym for IS's Afghanistan branch) recruiting efforts and will disrupt ISIL-K's operations in Afghanistan and the region," he added.
However, this is not the first time Khan has been reported dead. Afghan intelligence agents claimed he was killed in January of last year, but the report was never confirmed.
U.S. officials estimate there are some 1,000 to 1,500 IS fighters in Afghanistan currently, most of them are believed to be former Pakistani Taliban who shifted loyalty to IS in the past two years.