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Key Daesh leader killed as govt tightens noose around terrorists

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: At least 123 fighters loyal to the Daesh terrorist group including a top commander were killed in ground and air attacks in eastern Nangarhar province, said officials, a government’s movement apparently in retaliation of the Saturday’s suicide attack on Kabul protesters which was claimed by the group.

“Afghan security forces assaulted the Daesh fighters’ hideouts in the Achin and Kot districts, killing 123 including a deputy military commander and arresting 20 others,” the provincial press office said Tuesday in a statement.

It added that 122 fighters were killed in an airstrike carried out in the Bandar area of Achin district.

The airstrike targeted the Daesh big hideout after receiving exact intelligence information, where a number of foreign fighters also were killed, according to the statement.

Afghan troops also arrested 20 Daesh members with weapons through a separate ground raid in the Bandar area.

On the other hand, a Daesh key commander Saad Emarati was killed in a face to face clash with Afghan troops in Sarai Bazar area of Kot district, the statement mentioned.

Emarati was one of the founders of the Daesh Afghanistan-Pakistan branch, leading several attacks against the Taliban and government troops.

He was reportedly one of the first militant commanders in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region who pledged allegiance to Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

He was a former Afghan Taliban commander in central Logar province, who was sidelined and disarmed by the Taliban leadership for “unauthorized activities” in 2013.

After the Daesh Khorasan branch formed its base in Nangarhar province, Emarati led several attacks against the Taliban and government forces to expand the new group’s control and influence. He was accused of kidnapping for ransom among other actions and was known for his ruthlessness.

The recent attacks also destroyed the Daesh training center, court and strongholds in Kot district.

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