Afghanistan's Ministry of Defense says a military operation in the country's south has killed a militant commander who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

A ministry statement says Hafiz Wahidi and nine of his men were killed in the operation in Sangin district on Monday. Sangin is in the southern Helmand province, a Taliban heartland.

The statement said Wahidi was the nephew and a successor to Abdul Rauf Khadim, a former Taliban commander who switched allegiance and aligned his followers with the Islamic State group, which is fighting in Iraq and Syria.

Khadim, who had set up an IS recruiting network across southern Afghanistan, was killed in drone strike last month.

Officials have voiced concern about the IS presence in Afghanistan though the group's real strength here is unknown.