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Afghanistan IS head Abu Sayed killed in raid, says US

Stock photo shows US military troops in Kunar province, Afghanistan Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption US and Afghan forces are said to have killed or captured hundreds of IS militants in 2017

The head of so-called Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan, Abu Sayed, has been killed in a raid on the group's headquarters in the eastern province of Kunar, US officials say.

The raid on 11 July also resulted in the deaths of other IS members, the Pentagon said in a statement on Friday.

The operation was aimed at "disrupting the group's plans to expand" in Afghanistan, the statement added.

Abu Sayed's predecessor, Abdul Hasib, was killed in a military raid in April.

There has been no confirmation of the latest death by IS.

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said that Abu Sayed was chosen to lead the group after US and Afghan forces killed the previous IS leaders Hafiz Sayed Khan in a drone strike in 2016 and Abdul Hasib earlier this year.

IS has faced armed opposition from the larger and more powerful Afghan Taliban and has struggled to increase its support or the amount of territory it holds in Afghanistan.

Kunar is one of the group's main strongholds, along with the eastern province of Nangarhar.

In addition to the reported killings of Sayed and Hasib, US and Afghan forces have killed or captured hundreds of IS militants in an offensive this year, according to the US military.

IS announced it was moving into Afghanistan and Pakistan when it declared its so-called Khorasan Province (sometimes called ISIS-K) in 2015.

In July 2016, a suicide bomb attack on a Shia Muslim rally in Kabul killed about 80 people.

Three months later, two similar attacks during the Shia religious festival of Ashura claimed about 30 lives, and in November 2016 an attack at a mosque in Kabul killed more than 30.

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