Afghan and U.S. Special Forces attack IS-K in northern Afghanistan

Afghan Commandos destroy an insurgent weapons cache during offensive operations in northern Afghanistan. Afghan Special Security Forces maintain constant pressure on IS-K throughout the North.
22 Mar 2018

KABUL, Afghanistan (March 22, 2018) — Afghan Special Security Forces and U.S. Special Operators disrupted IS-K capacity to use foreign fighters to terrorize the Afghan people in northern Afghanistan.

"These IS-K fighters are primarily Pakistani Pashtun,” said General John Nicholson, commander, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan. "They have another segment of Islamic Movement Uzbekistan. And then there’s probably ten per cent that’s from a variety of sources around the world.”

On Jan. 28. Afghan forces captured Khitab Aka, IS-K’s head facilitator of foreign fighters in Jowzjan. Less than two months later, on Mar. 16, a U.S. airstrike killed Aka’s replacements, IS-K commanders Omair and Abu Samaya, as the duo met in Sar-e Pul province.

ASSF and U.S. SOF delivered another blow to IS-K during a partnered nighttime raid in the isolated village of Mughul, Darzab district, Jowzjan province, Mar. 22. This tactical defeat of IS-K fighters in Jowzjan is the most recent in a series of Afghan and U.S. SOF counterterrorism successes targeting IS-K in northern Afghanistan this year.

"Every day, we’re going against IS-K," said Nicholson. "They were in southern Nangarhar. If you were to go there today, you would see some of the valleys that have been liberated from IS-K: the populations returning, the kids going back into school."

IS-K is despised by the overwhelming majority of Afghans, and is ineffective in recruiting from the Afghan population. They rely on external support for fighters, equipment and financing, and exploit tribal rivalries for short-term allegiance.

"There will be no safe haven for any terrorist group,” said Nicholson. "We continue to strike them wherever we find them. We continue to hunt them across the country.”


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