by WorldTribune Staff, November 20, 2016
U.S. drone strikes have increased in Afghan provinces where Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) has seized territory, the U.S. military commander in Afghanistan said.
Army Gen. John Nicholson said there are some 1,300 ISIL jihadists in Afghanistan who “receive money, guidance, and communications support” from ISIL leaders in Syria and Iraq.
Most ISIL fighters were former members of the Pakistani Taliban, Nicholson said.
ISIL has been particularly active in Nangarhar province, where the terror group has seized pockets of territory in the past two years. ISIL’s area of influence has also spread to neighboring Kunar and Zabul provinces located along the border with Pakistan.
ISIL also has claimed responsibility for deadly attacks in Kabul, the most recent a Nov. 16 attack that killed six people near the Defense Ministry building.
In October, ISIL claimed responsibility for two separate attacks on Shi’ite worshipers in Kabul and the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif that killed dozens of people.
Meanwhile, Afghan officials said a top ISIL commander was killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike in eastern Afghanistan on Nov. 18.
A spokesman for the Nangarhar provincial governor said Mullah Bozorg was killed along with seven fighters. The spokesman said the strike was carried out in the Lagharjo area of Kot district.