Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Pentagon: Islamic State's Afghan leader killed in April raid

Kenny Thornton | 10 May, 2017, 00:00

According to Pentagon estimates, around 1,000 IS fighters remain active in Afghanistan.

USA combat operations against the Taliban officially ended in 2014, but special forces have continued to provide support to Afghan troops.

Trump has already given authority to set official troop levels in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria to Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Trump has yet to approve the strategy. But the Taliban has been making a comeback in recent years.

At the same time, the strategy would retain the previous administration's reconciliation policy with the Taliban.

It is unclear when Trump will make a formal decision.

The raid came weeks after the U.S. military dropped its most powerful conventional bomb in its arsenal on an IS cave complex in Nangarhar.

Sonia Gandhi admitted in Ganga Ram Hospital after food poisoning
In August a year ago , she underwent a shoulder reconstruction surgery after collapsing during a rally in Varanasi. Sonia Gandhi has a history of asthma and is usually under the care of chest specialist Dr Arup Basu at Ganga Ram.

"If it is true that American and Afghan security forces managed to kill the head of ISIL in Afghanistan that would be a big victory... but it doesn't mean that it's the end of ISIL here", Al Jazeera's Qais Azimy said, reporting from Kabul.

The Islamic State reached different parts of Afghanistan in 2015 and established its main stronghold in Nangarhar, a province bordering Pakistan. General John W. Nicholson, commander of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in Afghanistan, told reporters last month that US and Afghan forces have been attacking Islamic State positions since early a year ago and had reduced its size by two-thirds.

"The Pentagon will ask for 3,000 to 5,000 more soldiers, mainly to be assigned to advise and train Afghan military and police", according to United States media. The U.S. force would also be bolstered by requests for matching troops from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation nations. Nicholson said the coalition faces "a shortfall of a few thousand troops" to break the "stalemate".

Pakistan, Iran, and Russian Federation do not enjoy the best of relations with the United States, before or after President Donald Trump was inaugurated as the new commander-in-chief. The group only controls a relatively small amount of territory in eastern Afghanistan but has adeptly used it to plan complex attacks on the Afghan National Security Forces.

Casualties among global troops have dropped dramatically since the NATO-led effort shifted from a combat role to an advisory role in 2014.

A member of Afghanistan's Special Forces unit jumps from a wall during patrol in Pandola village near the site of a U.S. bombing in the Achin district of Nangarhar, Afghanistan April 14, 2017.

"Afghan officials said at least 34 militants had been killed by Afghan airstrikes since Sunday but gave no figures on Afghan casualties." reports the Washington Post (WaPo).


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