IS COMMANDER ABDUL RAUF KILLED BY AFGHANISTAN DRONE STRIKE

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IS

A drone strike in Afghanistan has killed a militant commander who recently swore allegiance to Islamic State (IS), officials say.

According to BBC, the police chief of Helmand said that former Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Rauf had died in the Nato strike.

It emerged last month that Rauf had sworn allegiance to IS after falling out with the Taliban.

Tribal elders in northern Helmand say a car carrying up to six people was destroyed while crossing the desert.

The car was loaded with ammunition and exploded, reports said.

Analysts are divided over whether those flying black flags in Afghanistan are opportunists or are directed by the IS leadership in Syria and Iraq.

The commander killed in Helmand, Mullah Abdul Rauf, was appointed deputy commander in the region some weeks after he first declared his allegiance when he split from the Taliban.

The air strike that killed him was one of the first reported under Nato’s new mandate.

There have been increasing reports of people supporting IS from across the country. Afghan government spokesmen continue to insist that they are disaffected Taliban, and not a significant new development.

One disturbing aspect is that the name used by IS in Syria to describe the offshoot here is the Khorasan group, using an old name for Afghanistan.

And there is an ancient myth that black flags will fly again in Khorasan shortly before the end of the world.

The Afghan Intelligence Agency also said Rauf had been killed. Nato confirmed the air strike, but not the intended target.

Afghan forces say it has been very hard to call in air strikes under the new Nato mandate since the beginning of this year. This was one of the first strikes to be approved.

Rauf, who spent six years in Guantanamo Bay after being captured by US forces in 2001, was reported to have fallen out with the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar.

He swapped the white flags of the Taliban for the black flags of IS and recruited followers in Helmand.

Rauf was then named as deputy leader of IS in “Khorasan” – an old name for Afghanistan – by the organisation in Syria.

The most senior IS commander for the region is Saeed Khan, who is based in Orakzai tribal agency in Pakistan.

The militant commander’s brother-in-law and four Pakistanis were also killed in the attack, Helmand police chief Nabi Jan Mullahkhel was quoted by Reuters as saying.

 

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