Mohmand Valley raid
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The Mohmand Valley raid was a joint US/Afghan operation targeting an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - Khorasan Province (ISIL-KP) compound in the Achin District of Nangarhar Province, that lasted from the night of 26 April to the early morning hours of the 27th, 2017. The raid resulted in the deaths of two US Army Rangers from C and D Companies of the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, and the death of Abdul Haseeb Logari, the leader of ISIL-KP, alongside several leaders, and up to 35 other militants according to The Pentagon.
On January 11, 2015 Hafiz Saeed Khan a former member of Tehrik-i-Taliban and the Afghan Taliban alongside other former Taliban leaders pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, forming the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province and becoming the group's emir. Seven months later the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan pledged allegiance to ISIL and claimed membership in the Khorasan group. Immediately after its formation the United States and Afghanistan targeted the group in airstrikes and raids. The group also suffered major setbacks while fighting the Taliban.
Less than two weeks before the raid on April 13, 2017 and less than a mile away from the location of the raid, the US military dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb, a GBU-43/B MOAB on an ISIL-KP tunnel network once used by the Mujahideen during the Soviet–Afghan War in the 80s and Osama Bin Laden during the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The strike killed 96 militants according to an Afghan official.
At the time of the raid the group had been reduced to an estimated 700 fighters, down from 3,000 fighters at the group's peak, according to US officials.
The target of the operation was a compound in the Mohmand Valley located less than a mile away from where the US dropped the MOAB bomb. The compound was believed to have housed Abdul Hasib, a former Taliban commander before switching alliances to the Islamic State - Khorasan Province, he would eventually become the group's leader after his predecessor Hafiz Saeed Khan was killed in a US airstrike. Abdul had overseen several attacks against the Afghan Government including the March 2017 Kabul attack on a military hospital that killed nearly 100 people. Commanders decided to conduct a joint US/Afghan special forces raid over an airstrike because woman and children were believed to have been in the compound.
At around 10:30 on the night of 26 April, 50 U.S. Army Rangers from 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, alongside 40 Afghan commandos from the Special Security Forces (Kteh Khas), were inserted near the target site by helicopter. Almost immediately after landing the force came under heavy fire from multiple directions by entrenched enemy positions with the firefight being described as "close quarters with enemy fire coming at 360 degrees". As the joint American/Afghan force pushed through the difficult terrain under fire, they called in airstrikes from AC-130 gunships, F-16 fighter jets, AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and drones.
Early in the firefight two Army Rangers were critically wounded, possibly as a result of friendly fire, team members later denied the assertion. The two wounded were medevaced by helicopter where they would later die from their injuries. Another Ranger was grazed by a bullet but left the battle on his own choosing. The raid lasted for more than three hours up to about 3:30 a.m. and resulted in the death of the attended target with the Pentagon calling it as a success in degrading the group's ability to fight.
Among the dead were two Army Rangers identified as 22 year old Sgt. Joshua Rodgers of Bloomington, Illinois and 23 year old Sgt. Cameron Thomas of Kettering, Ohio. Both of them enlisted in the Army out of high school and were on their third deployments. Their rewards and decorations include the Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Star, and the NATO Medal. Abdul Hasib, several more of the group's leaders, and about 35 other militants were killed in the raid The Pentagon stated.
On April 28, Afghan forces conducted an operation in the Mohmand Valley, reportedly killing 20 ISIL-KP militants the MoD said. Abdul Hassib would be replaced by Pakistani militant Abu Saeed, who would be killed by a US drone strike in Kunar Province on July 11, making him the third ISIL-KP emir killed since July 2016. On May 7, the US Military confirmed Hassib’s death in a press release.
Army Ranger, Staff Sgt. Michael Young, a squad leader in C Company, 3rd Ranger Battalion, was credited for saving the lives of 22 Rangers during the raid. He was awarded the Silver Star in April 2018 for his actions.
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