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Afghan air force pounds area following death of IS commander

Afghanistan's air force has pounded Islamic State targets in an eastern province where an Afghan and US military raid last month killed the militant group's top commander in the area.

The air strikes killed at least 34 IS fighters over the past 24 hours and destroyed an insurgent-controlled radio station in Nangarhar province, the interior ministry said.

The ministry also said the strikes targeted IS hideouts in Nazyan and Achin districts.

It said the radio station had been illegally broadcasting IS messages across the eastern province and was therefore a threat to the people and the government.

The government statement came after the Pentagon announced on Sunday night that a military raid last month killed Abdul Haseeb Logari, the IS chief in Nangarhar.

Logari was among several high-ranking leaders of the Islamic State group's affiliate in Afghanistan who died in the raid carried out by Afghan Special Security Forces in partnership with US forces, the Pentagon said in a statement.

A statement released on Monday from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's office also confirmed Logari's death, adding that he was "responsible for ordering the attack on the military hospital in Kabul that took place in March in which around 50 people were killed and many more wounded".

Earlier, General John Nicholson, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, said Logari was the second leader of IS in Afghanistan to be killed in the last nine months.

He said the militants had "waged a barbaric campaign of death, torture and violence against the Afghan people, especially those in southern Nangarhar".

After the March 8 Kabul hospital attack, Afghan and US forces launched a counter-offensive in the province. Fighting there is still under way.

"I applaud the tremendous skill and courage shown by our Afghan partners," Gen Nicholson said.

"This fight strengthens our resolve to rid Afghanistan of these terrorists and bring peace and stability to this great country. Any ISIS member that comes to Afghanistan will meet the same fate."

The Islamic State group, which seized much territory in Iraq and Syria in a 2014 blitz, first emerged in Afghanistan in 2015, mainly in Nangarhar province, but has since tried to enlarge its footprint, including by staging large-scale attacks in Kabul and elsewhere.

AP

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