United States authorities confirmed Sunday that the leader of ISIS in Afghanistan was killed as a result of a raid that took place in late April.
Sheikh Abdul Hasib was killed after the April 27 raid performed by U.S. troops and Afghan special security forces. His death, that of other high-ranking ISIS leaders and 35 fighters was confirmed by authorities May 7 in a statement.
The Pentagon previously said they thought he was killed in the operation, but it wasn’t confirmed until about one week later.
Hasib was the leader of a local affiliate of the Islamic State, known as Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The April 27 Operation Ended With the Deaths of 2 U.S. Soldiers
The joint operation in the southern Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan was large-scale in nature and troops closing in on the terror groups leader encountered heavy gunfire from ISIS fighters once on the ground.
More than 50 U.S. Army Rangers were part of the operation and battled the ISIS fighters for over three hours on the mountain terrain.
When the dust settled, over 35 ISIS-K fighters and several other high ranking officials within the terror group affiliate died, U.S. authorities confirmed.
General John Nicholson, Commander U.S. Forces — Afghanistan, said in a statement that the operation was “another important step in our relentless campaign to defeat ISIS-K in 2017.”
“This is the second ISIS-K emir we have killed in nine months, along with dozens of their leaders and hundreds of their fighters,” Nicholson said. “For more than two years, ISIS-K has waged a barbaric campaign of death, torture and violence against the Afghan people, especially those in southern Nangarhar.”
But there were causalities for the U.S. as well, as two of the Rangers taking part in the raid died and another was injured from gunfire.
The U.S. Army identified the soldiers as Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers, 22, “who was assigned to Company C, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, and stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia” and Sgt. Cameron H. Thomas, 23, “who was assigned to Company D, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, and stationed at Fort Benning.”
The Pentagon launched an investigation to determine if the men were killed by friendly fire.
2. Hasib Was Reportedly Responsible For an Attack on a Hospital In Kabul
Officials from the U.S. said that Hasib the one responsible for directing a March 8 attack on a military hospital that ended with the deaths of many innocent Afghans.
The attack was at Kabul National Military Hospital and it killed almost 100 people and left dozens more injured.
During the attack, gunmen were dressed as medical personnel and stormed the hospital, which is located near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. The attack lasted about six hours in all before Afghan forces killed the attackers, CNN reported.
The attack started with a suicide bomber blowing himself up at a gate at the country’s “biggest and best-equipped medical facility.” Following that, three gunmen stormed the hospital and ran up to the second and third floors opening fire.
Additional Afhan forces along with with armored vehicles and a helicopter shot the attackers dead after hours of fighting.
Those killed in the attack included Afghan military personnel that were recovering from injuries suffered while on duty.
3. Hasib Took Over After The Former Leader Was Killed By Forces
Hasib was the leader of ISIS in Afghanistan for just under a year, as his predecessor Hafiz Saeed Khan was killed following a U.S.-led drone strike on July 26, 2016.
Saeed was a former member of the Taliban’s Pakistani affiliate and soon enough pledged his allegiance to ISIS.
The U.S. Department of Treasury sanctioned Saeed and 15 other Islamic leaders in September 2015. The department said in a statement after doing so:
Khan, as leader of ISIL-K, plays a central role in expanding ISIL’s operations in the region, commanding militants and coordinating the delivery of supplies and munitions, the travel of associates, and other arrangements. In mid-2015, Khan appointed ISIL representatives in Kunar Province and Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan and approved funding for the establishment of a training camp for ISIL fighters in western Afghanistan. ISIL militants under Khan’s command had taken control of several districts in Nangarhar Province in mid-2015.
Saeed’s death was also reported in July 2015, but it was never confirmed.
4. The Compound Hasib Was Killed at Was Near the M.O.A.B Strike Location
The area that the April 27 operation, which targeted Hasib, took place in the same area that the “Mother of All Bombs” was dropped in mid-April.
The bomb, which is officially named the GBU/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, is the biggest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal. That attack by the U.S. killed 94 ISIS officials, destroyed three underground tunnels used by ISIS and also weapons and ammunition in control of the terror group.
Nangahar province spokesman Attaullah Khogiani said four commanders of ISIS were part of the death toll.
5. President Donald Trump Has Vowed to ‘Destroy’ ISIS
The attack that Hasib was killed in is another encouraged by President Donald Trump, who had vowed to “destroy ISIS” if he were elected president.
His campaign promise required a plan from the military to destroy ISIS within 30 days of taking office.
“We are going to convene my top generals and give them a simple instruction,” he said during a campaign rally in Greenville, N.C. “They will have 30 days to submit to the Oval Office a plan for soundly and quickly defeating ISIS. We have no choice.”
Trump often said he would “bomb the hell” out of the area to rid it of its terror groups.
Preliminary framework for the plan was sent to Trump’s desk Feb. 27 by the Pentagon. Trump touted delivering on the promise in his address to Congress on Feb. 28.
As promised, I directed the Department of Defense to develop a plan to demolish and destroy ISIS, a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians and men, and women and children of all faiths and all beliefs. We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy from our planet.
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