US Drone Strikes Kill 49 in Eastern Afghanistan

ISIS Commander Reportedly Among the Slain

US drones launched a pair of attacks against a village in Nangarhar Province housing what they believe are militants loyal to ISIS, killing a total of 49 people. Government spokesmen insisted everyone claimed was a militant.

Afghan officials also reported, in the wake of the strikes, that they believe one of the slain was Gul Zaman, who they believe is the second highest ranking official in Afghanistan’s ISIS. Zaman was one of six Pakistani Taliban who joined ISIS back in October.

It is unclear so far how big ISIS is in Afghanistan, as the group is mostly cobbled together out of Taliban defectors.. So far they have fought against the Taliban primarily, though in the long run they will likely attack the Afghan government and NATO as well.

ISIS influence is growing on both sides of the country, with clashes with the Taliban reported both in Nangarhar and in the far southwest. It is unclear how much, if any, support they are getting from the parent ISIS organization yet, as the Raqqa-based leadership typically waits for affiliates to reach a certain size before it starts backing them.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.