The first drone attacks by the United States against ISIS militants in Afghanistan has killed at least 49 fighters according to officials in Nangarhar province's Achin district where the strikes took place.
Ahmad Zia Adulzai, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said the first strike carried out on Monday killed 12 militants while today’s attack had accounted for the lives of another 37 who had been fleeing the area.
“This is the first and bloodiest drone strike on Daesh [ISIS] fighters in the area which has killed quite a big number of militants,” Abdulzai said.
He said the fighters had plans to attack rival Taliban groups in nearby areas.
A series of violent confrontations between the two groups have been reported recently in Nangarhar province where Daesh fighters have pushed Taliban forces out of Achin and Nazian districts. According to Afghan officials they now control five districts in Nangarhar, and have made contact with the Daesh leadership in Syria.
The Daesh fighters are believed to be former Taliban members who have renamed themselves following Daesh victories in Iraq and Syria over the past year.
DAESH is a name some Islamic countries began calling the ISIS terror group and is an Arabic name “al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Iraq wa al-Sham.” It is believed the name is offensive to ISIS as it is derogatory towards their interpretation of Islam, a key pillar of their ruling doctrine.