NATO says US airstrike kills senior Islamic State commander
KABUL, Afghanistan – NATO says a U.S. airstrike in northern Afghanistan has killed a senior Islamic State commander.
A statement issued Monday says Qari Hikmatullah, a former leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, was killed in the northern Faryab province by the airstrike on Friday. It says one of his bodyguards was also killed.
Hikmatullah, a native Uzbek, had also previously fought with the Taliban, before joining the local IS affiliate. The IS affiliate named Mawlavi Habibul Rahman, another Uzbek, to be his successor.
Afghan forces have struggled to combat the Taliban and IS, both of which have expanded their footprints in recent years. The U.S. and NATO formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, shifting to a training and counterterrorism role.