Islamic State Local Commander 'Killed In Afghan Air Strikes'

A local commander of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group has been killed by Afghan security forces in the northern province of Jawzjan, Afghan officials say.

Provincial police chief Faqeer Mohammad Jawzjani said on April 7 that the IS commander, Qari Hekmat, was killed by Afghan forces’ air strikes on April 5.

The official told RFE/RL that Hekmat was killed along with his bodyguard and two other militants in Jawzjan’s Darzab district.

Jawzjani said the government forces continue a military operation to clear out the area from IS militants.

Afghan officials earlier said that IS militants in Jawzjan appointed Mawlawi Habib-ur-Rehman, an IS fighter from the northern province of Balkh, as the extremist group’s new local commander.

IS militants have a presence in several Afghan districts, mostly in the country’s east near the Pakistani border, but also in some northern provinces, like Jawzjan and Kunduz.

IS doesn’t fully control any Afghan district, and it fights both the Afghan government forces and the Taliban for territorial control.

IS has claimed responsibility for several deadly suicide attacks in the capital, Kabul, and other cities, including Herat and Jalalabad.