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Agency: ISIS leader in Afghanistan killed in airstrike

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KABUL, Afghanistan– Shahidullah Shahid, a former Taliban spokesman who pledged allegiance to ISIS, has been killed in an airstrike in eastern Afghanistan, that nation’s intelligence agency reported Thursday.

According to the Afghan agency, the National Directorate of Security, Shahid was planning “a big war in the region and turned himself to a famous and central figure of the terrorist group” in Nangarhar province.

Earlier this year, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani deemed ISIS a “terrible threat” to his country, which has been beset for years by violence from other groups, like the Taliban.

Shahid was a longtime spokesman for another militant organization, the Pakistan Taliban, that’s long been blamed for unrest in the region.

In October, he issued a statement expressing solidarity with ISIS and other fighters in Syria.

“In these times when the enemy is standing against you we ask that you forget internal strife and rivalries and stand up against the nonbeliever army,” Shahid said then in a statement. “The Muslims of the world look to you with great expectation, and in this difficult time, we, your mujahidin brothers, are with you and will provide you with fighters and help.”

A few weeks later, the Pakistan Taliban announced that Shahid had been replaced as spokesman.

By Masoud Popalzai and Greg Botelho

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