The DOD recently released footage of U.S. Special Operations Forces conducting a raid against ISIS-K in Mughul, Darzab district, Jowzjan province, Afghanistan. What appears to be a platoon of U.S. Army Rangers, they can be seen loading up onto the MH-47, landing on target, followed by several explosions. It is difficult to discern exactly what the exact cause of these explosions are, but suffice to say that, according to the DOD reports, the mission was a success. U.S. Special Operations Forces and their partner Afghani Special Security Forces killed an ISIS-K commander alongside another militant on the night of 26-27 March.
Just five days before the raid, SOF units also reportedly killed four more fighters in the area. Six days prior, air assets eliminated two ISIS-K “platoon commanders,” which was followed by a raid the resulted in the deaths of another 13 militants. SOF elements have also already captured those commanders’ “predecessor Khitab Aka, ISIS-K’s head facilitator of foreign fighters in Jowzjan.”
Mughul lies in northern Afghanistan, relatively close to the borders of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. It is less than 60 miles from Turkmenistan.
ISIS-K, also known as ISK or ISIL-KP, is the arm of the Islamic State that operates throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan. They have recruited many former Taliban fighters, and fight U.S., Taliban and Afghani forces alike. According to the DOD, “ISIS-K is unable to take root in Afghanistan, relying on exploiting tribal rivalries for short-term allegiance and external support for fighters, equipment and financing.” In April of 2017, Army Rangers also conducted a raid killing dozens of enemy fighters and the leader or emir, Sheikh Abdul Hasib. Two Rangers were killed in action: Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers, 22, Sgt. Cameron H. Thomas, 23.
ISIS-K have claimed multiple significant attacks throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan in the last several years. Notably, they were culpable for the Pakistani suicide bombing in February, 2017, that claimed the lives of 88 people and wounded over 250. They also claimed responsibility for the hospital attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan in March 2017, when they assaulted the building and killed 49 people, injuring 63.
Featured image courtesy of NATO Special Operations Command-Afghanistan; video taken by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis.