ISIS Leader in Afghanistan, Pakistan Killed in Drone Strike, U.S. Official Confirms

The death of Hafiz Saeed Khan is a blow to efforts by ISIS to expand its control over territory and its jihadist brand into Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Afghan police poses for photograph with an ISIS flag after an operation in the Kot district of Jalalabad province east of Kabul, Afghanistan, August 1, 2016.
Melad Hamedi, AP

REUTERS - The leader of ISIS' branch in Afghanistan and Pakistan was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan on July 26, a U.S. defense official said on Friday on the condition of anonymity. 

The Afghan ambassador to Pakistan had said earlier on Friday that a U.S. drone strike had killed Hafiz Saeed Khan, in what would be a blow to efforts by Middle East-based ISIS to expand its control over territory and its jihadist brand into Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

"I can confirm that ISIS Khurasan leader Hafiz Saeed Khan along with his senior commanders and fighters died in a U.S. drone strike on July 26 in Kot district of Afghanistan's Nangharhar province," Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal told Reuters. 

Khan, a former member of the Pakistani branch of the Taliban who swore allegiance to Middle East-based ISIS, was earlier reported killed last year but the death was never confirmed.