Air strike kills terrorist commander in Jawzjan in 'big blow' to ISIS


MAZAR-E-SHARIF -- An Afghan air strike Friday (April 6) killed a high-ranking commander of the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) terrorist group in Afghanistan, officials said Saturday (April 7).

Qari Hekmat was the top commander of ISIS's Afghan franchise in Jawzjan Province, where the group established a stronghold after coming under intense pressure in Nangarhar Province.

Hekmat was killed in Darzab District, the Defence Ministry said in a statement, describing him as "one of the key figures" for ISIS in northern Afghanistan.

He was involved in or responsible for "deadly terrorist attacks" and has been succeeded by Mawlawi Habib-ul-Rahman, the ministry added.

Provincial governor Lutfullah Azizi confirmed Hekmat had been killed but said coalition forces carried out the air strike.

Hekmat's death was "a big blow" to ISIS in the north, said Jawzjan provincial police chief Faqir Mohammad Jawzjani, adding that "he was the founder of [ISIS] in northern Afghanistan and had recruited fighters".

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