"You kill a leader of one of these groups and it sets them back," said Jim Mattis, the US defence secretary. "It's obviously a victory on our side in terms of setting them back. It's the right direction."
Isil-K has claimed responsibility for a series of high-profile attacks in Afghanistan in the last two years. At least 49 people were killed when gunmen disguised as doctors attacked a military hospital in Kabul in March. The group is believed to have only around 1,000 members but it has drawn the attention of the US, which is desperate not to allow the jihadists a firm foothold in Afghanistan. In April, the US dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb, known sometimes as the Mother Of All Bombs (MOAB) on a tunnel complex allegedly used by the group. It is not clear the attack had much impact on the group’s operations. “There is no sanctuary for their fighters in Afghanistan,” a Pentagon spokesperson said. The US is military is completing a review of US strategy in Afghanistan and is expected to publish its findings later this month.
Around 10,000 US troops are still in Afghanistan and Donald Trump has given the military authority to deploy 4,000 more if commanders feel they are necessary. US generals have admitted in hearings before Congress that the 16-year is at a stalemate, where the US and its Afghan allies are unable to take and hold significant amounts of territory lost to the Taliban and other groups.