U.S. and Afghan Special Forces are completing an operation to clear Islamic State fighters from a remote district in Nangarhar, the eastern province where they have their main stronghold in Afghanistan, officials said on Saturday.
The operation in Deh Bala, on the border with Pakistan, began at the end of April and was largely complete in early June but final mine clearance operations are still underway, said Lt. Col. Josh Thiel, from the U.S. First Special Forces Group.
“This was one of the main green zones that did two things. One, it provided money, finance, logistics to ISIS (Islamic State) and we’ve taken that away from them,” he said. “Additionally, ISIS was using this as a site to prepare and move high-profile attacks on Kabul and Jalalabad.”
The operation, involving three companies of Afghan commandos supported by U.S. air strikes and American Special Forces teams, began with troops arriving by helicopter and setting up an operations base near the village of Gargari, where the Islamic State fighters were trying to establish a local capital.
Several days of heavy fighting ended in early June with 167 Islamic State fighters killed and large quantities of equipment captured.