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Afghan Officials Unable to Confirm IS Commander's Death in Drone Strike

Kabul, Afghanistan
Kabul, Afghanistan

Officials in Afghanistan say they could not confirm the death of a top commander of the Islamic State group in Afghanistan.

On Thursday, the Afghan officials had said a U.S. drone strike killed Islamic State’s top commander in the area along with at least 11 other insurgents.

But Achin district Governor Haji Ghalib, who had reported Hafiz Saeed Khan’s death Thursday, told VOA’s Afghan Service Friday: “The information we received yesterday was not accurate. After receiving accurate information, we realized he had not been killed.”

Nevertheless, Ghalib said that 12 IS fighters, including an IS commander, had been killed in Thursday’s drone strike in the region.

Colonel Mohammad Numan Hatifi, a spokesman for the 201st Army Corps in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, also dismissed reports of Hafiz Saeed Khan’s death.

“The report was a lie,” he told VOA. “Hafiz Sayeed is not in Afghanistan. He’s in Pakistan.”

There is no independent confirmation Khan is inside Pakistan.

The Islamic State group did not have any immediate comment about Thursday's drone strike. Khan, a former Taliban commander who switched sides to join the Islamic State militant group more than a year ago, was said to have been killed six months ago, but the terrorist group denied that report at the time.

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