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Strike in Afghanistan Kills IS Commanders

Nangharhar province, Afghanistan

Nangharhar province, Afghanistan

Afghan security officials say a U.S. drone strike in eastern Afghanistan killed two senior Pakistani militants who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

The Pentagon Friday confirmed the U.S. did conduct three strikes in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province on July 6 and July 7 but did not confirm who was killed in the strikes.

Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis says these were conducted against individuals who posed a threat to U.S. and coalition forces there.

“I don’t have the specifics of the timeline of the planned threat, but this was considered a force-protection strike,” he said.

Afghan officials Thursday said the strike killed commanders Gul Zaman and Shahidullah Shahid.

The officials referred to Zaman as the deputy leader of the Islamic State in Afghanistan and said Shahid had joined the Islamic State as a spokesman last year.

During a visit to Washington earlier this year, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ghani told U.S. lawmakers that the Islamic State group and its allies posed a “terrible threat” to the countries of western and central Asia.

Ghani said Islamic State militants were already sending advance guards to southern and western Afghanistan “to test for vulnerabilities."

"Terrorists neither recognize boundaries nor require passports to spread their message of hate and discord," he said.

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.