A surge in suicide bombings, brazen terror attacks on Kabul, and mass kidnappings in recent weeks in Afghanistan has indicated a significant and growing resurgence of both the Taliban and ‘Islamic State’ in the country after multiple failed attempts of the NATO-backed central government to strike ceasefire deals with the Taliban.
Most recently, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani survived what appeared to be an assassination attempt on August 21st, when a hail of shoulder-fired missiles landed near the presidential palace and in Kabul’s ‘green zone’, interrupting his televised speech.
But it appears Afghan government forces and their US and NATO advisory partners are in the process of clamping down on the insurgency while delivering pay-back, as Reuters reports the head of Islamic State in Afghanistan has been killed in an airstrike on Saturday.
According to Reuters:
The head of Islamic State in Afghanistan, Abu Saad Erhabi, was killed in a strike on the group’s hideouts in Nangarhar province on Saturday night, authorities said on Sunday.
Afghan state officials further say this was the fourth Islamic State leader in Afghanistan to be killed since July 2017.
During separate raids on the terrorists’ positions, large quantities of heavy and light weapons were recovered.
The Islamic State currently has a stronghold in Nangarhar, on Afghanistan’s eastern border with Pakistan, which is a notoriously porous border region.
The group has been active in Afghanistan since the start of 2015, after ISIS leaders in Iraq and Syria reportedly planned to fund the terror group’s expansion into south and central Asia.
According to LawFare Blog, the group started out as a tiny cell, but quickly co-opted other Islamist groups and gained visibility from there: In January 2015, the Islamic State formally announced the establishment of what it called “Wilayat Khorasan,” or Khorasan Province, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Over the next several months, the Islamic State focused on co-opting local militants and expanding its networks in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Though their total numbers remain difficult to assess, the Pentagon estimates that there are upwards of 2,000 Islamic State militants currently in Afghanistan.
A year ago President Trump authorized sending 4,000 more American troops to Afghanistan in a train and assist capacity as the third president to attempt to stabilize what’s been dubbed “the endless war” — and over the past two weeks Trump’s foreign policy cabinet members have been in discussion concerning a possible new direction for US policy regarding the seventeen-year long war.
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