The Afghan and US Special Forces have intensified operations against the ISIS-K in northern Jawzjan province of Afghanistan as latest report indicate the group has lost at least 90 members during the operations since the beginning of the year, like reported by khaama.com.
According to a report by NATO Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan, Afghan Special Security Forces eliminated 22 IS-K fighters attempting to defend IS-K’s strategic center of Darzab district, Jowzjan province on Apr. 11. The operation occurred six days after Qari Hekmatullah, the IS-K emir for northern Afghanistan, and his bodyguard were killed by a U.S. airstrike in Darzab on Apr. 5.
The report further adds that fighters that choose to stay with IS-K face a similar fate as its leaders. Afghan and U.S. special operations coupled with U.S. airstrikes continue to decimate the heart of IS-K in Darzab. Afghan and U.S. forces have killed 90 IS-K fighters this year, a majority were eliminated in Darzab.
“The recent Afghan and U.S. special operations raid will lead to the tactical defeat of IS-K in northern Afghanistan,” stated Gen. John Nicholson, U.S. Forces – Afghanistan commander. “Pockets of former Taliban fighters may claim allegiance to IS-K, but they are isolated and losing. We have them on the defensive. They will not win.”
According to the NATO Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan, a series of Afghan Special Security Forces (ASSF) and U.S. SOF counterterrorism operations focused on dismantling the terrorists’ leadership leaves IS-K without direction. IS-K in Jowjzan now selects its leaders from a dwindling, revolving door of insurgents with a history of divided loyalties.
The report also states that like Hekmatullah, IS-K’s new leader in northern Afghanistan is Mawlavi Habibul Rahman, a native Uzbek. Also like Hekmatullah, Rahman has had intermittent ties to both the Taliban and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.