Afghan Air Strike Kills ISIS Commander

April 8, 2018 Updated: June 23, 2019

KABUL–Afghanistan forces killed an important ISIS commander in an air strike, one year after he defected from the Taliban and established a new ISIS foothold in the country, security officials said.

Qari Hekmat was killed in a drone strike on Thursday afternoon in the Darz Aab district of Afghanistan’s northern Jawzjan province, said Hanif Rezaee, spokesman for the Afghan National Army Air Corps.

He said Mawlavi Habib Ur Rahman has been appointed as his ISIS successor in the north of the country.

The terrorist group, also known as Daesh, established a new foothold in the province last year when Hekmat defected from the Taliban, attracting the attention of U.S. forces.

ISIS claimed responsibility for suicide bombs last month near Shi’ite mosques in Herat and Kabul. Both the Western-backed government in Kabul and the main Islamist insurgent group, the Taliban, fight ISIS.

The terrorist group first appeared in Afghanistan three years ago. As well as its main stronghold in the eastern province of Nangarhar, on the border with Pakistan, its fighters have been active in northern Afghanistan.

While sectarian violence in mainly Sunni Muslim Afghanistan was previously rare, a series of attacks over recent years, many claimed by ISIS, have killed hundreds of Shi’ites.

By Hamid Shalizi