A high-ranking Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL' group] commander was killed in Afghanistan in an airstrike, officials reported Saturday, as Afghan forces dial up attacks on the Takfiri group.
Qari Hekmat was the top commander of Daesh's Afghan franchise in the northern 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 defense ministry said in a statement, describing him as "one of the key figures" for the group in northern Afghanistan.
He was involved in or at least responsible for "deadly terrorist attacks" and was later replaced by Mawlawi Habib-ul-Rahman, the ministry added.
Provincial governor Lutfullah Azizi confirmed Hekmat had been killed but claimed US Forces carried out the airstrike.
US Forces however did not immediately respond to AFP's request for comment.
"Our intelligence sources have identified his body. His death will affect the recruitment of Daesh and disperse Daesh fighters in Afghanistan's north," Azizi said.
Despite being vastly outnumbered by the Taliban, Daesh claimed responsibility for devastating attacks in the capital Kabul and elsewhere in the country.
Some Western and Afghan officials believe it has received help from the Haqqani Network, a brutal wing of the Taliban.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team