US military kills Islamic State’s Somalian leader who funded operations in Afghanistan

The US military conducted an operation in on 25 January in northern Somalia, killing an Islamic State regional leader and 10 of his associates. A statement on behalf on the US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin on 26 January said:

“On January 25, on orders from the President, the U.S. military conducted an assault operation in northern Somalia that resulted in the death of a number of ISIS members, including Bilal-al-Sudani, an ISIS leader in Somalia and a key facilitator for ISIS’s global network.  Al-Sudani was responsible for fostering the growing presence of ISIS in Africa and for funding the group’s operations worldwide, including in Afghanistan. “

According to Wall Street Journal, US government officials believe the Somalia operation is a success for the US’s “over-the-horizon” strategy, which enables the US military conduct operations without having a footprint, “countries like Afghanistan and Syria, where ISIS activities continue to threaten U.S. personnel and regional stability.”

The Islamic State’s Afghanistan offshoot, known as the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), has been responsible for many deadly attacks in Afghanistan, especially attacks on schools and tuition centres belonging to the Hazara community.

According to Human Rights Watch, in 2022, the ISKP killed and injured at least 700 Hazaras in Afghanistan.