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IS leader dies in US drone attack: Afghan envoy

PESHAWAR: A leader of the militant Islamic State (IS) group in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been killed in a US drone strike, the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan said on Friday, though the American military said it could not confirm that.
If true, the death of Hafiz Saeed Khan would strike a blow to efforts by IS to expand its control over territory and its jihadi brand into Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It would also mark the second US killing of a prominent militant in the region within months. In May, a US drone killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a strike in Balochistan.
IS this week took credit for an attack on a hospital that killed at least 74 people in Quetta. A Pakistani Taliban faction also claimed responsibility.
Khan has been reported dead before. Last year, Afghan intelligence agents claimed he had been killed, but the report was never confirmed.
On Friday, Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal told Reuters he had seen confirmation from Afghan security forces on Khan’s death.
“I can confirm that ISIS Khurasan [Afghanistan and Pakistan] leader Hafiz Saeed Khan along with his senior commanders and fighters died in a US drone strike on July 26 in Kot district of Afghanistan’s Nangharhar province,” he said.
US military spokesman Col Michael Lawhorn said American forces in Afghanistan “are aware of those reports and we are looking into it” but have not yet confirmed Khan’s death.

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