FORMER ISIS-K leader Abu Omar Khorasani has been executed, the Taliban has announced.
He was a figurehead of the Daesh splinter cell in Afghanistan – which was behind the Kabul airport bombing that killed at least 180 people last month.
Khorasani’s fate remained uncertain after after the Taliban swept to power and seized the dingy Pul-i-Charkhi prison where he was being held in the capital.
Some reports claimed he was freed along with thousands of other prisoners as chaos engulfed the country.
But the Wall Street Journal reported he was shot dead along with eight lieutenants.
Over the weekend the Taliban confirmed he had been shot dead, according to Lebanese TV station al-Mayadeen.
Khorasani – also known as Zia ul-Haq – was already on death row before the Taliban’s lightning summer takeover.
He had been captured by US and Afghan forces at a house outside Kabul in May 2020, and reportedly sentenced to death and 800 years in prison.
The Wall Street Journal said it interviewed Khorasani in jail two days before his death in mid-August.
Even though his group is at war with the Taliban, he hailed their advance as a harbinger for radical change and predicted they would release him.
“They will let me free if they are good Muslims,” Khorasani said.
Reports say he was taken from the prison and shot. An unverified photo purporting to show his body was later posted on social media.
His execution is a strong signal the Taliban will not work with ISIS terrorists who have sought to establish a new stronghold in Afghanistan.
ISIS-K was formed in 2015, seizing ground once occupied by al-Qaeda, and was bolstered by foreign jihadis fleeing the collapse of the self-declared Caliphate in Iraq and Syria.
Khorasani became leader after his predecessor Abdul Haseeb Logari was killed in April 2017.
Weeks later, the terrorists boasted they had captured Osama Bin Laden’s “impenetrable” cave fortress in the Tora Bora mountains.
Since then ISIS-K jihadis have launched numerous attacks on Afghan and Nato troops and also fought battles against the Taliban.
In one sickening attack last year, gunmen stormed a maternity hospital and slaughtered 16 innocents, including newborn babies, mums and nurses.
JIHADIS AT WAR
Last month ISIS-K claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack targeting crowds of desperate migrants at Kabul airport.
Thirteen US soldiers died along with more than 170 civilians – including Brits who had gone to rescue family members.
The Pentagon launched a series of drone attacks it said wiped out a number of terrorists linked to the atrocity.
But defiant ISIS-K leaders are now said to be recruiting fanatics from across Asia to fight a ferocious new guerrilla war against the Taliban.
They are also said to be recruiting British jihadis to launch a new wave of terror on the West.
Experts say the group views the Taliban as “too moderate” and has ambitions to establish a new caliphate spanning central and south Asia.
Dr Rakib Ehsan, research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, told The Sun Online: “ISIS-K are a different form of animal from the Taliban.
“Their ultimate goal is establish a global Islamic caliphate while the Taliban are solely focused on implementing sharia law in Afghanistan.
“ISIS-K believes the Taliban is a reformist movement which betrays Islam and they are swooping up disillusioned (ex-members) who share this view.
“The Islamic State is focused on the destruction of western civilisation.”
There are around 2,200 members of ISIS-K in Afghanistan – mostly in the eastern Nangahar province – while the Taliban is at least 75,000 strong.
The Taliban has dismissed the threat of “deviant” ISIS-K claiming that the vastly outnumbered extremists are widely “hated” by the Afghan people.
But some experts believe thousands of Taliban hardliners in the provinces could defect to the rival group in disgust at policies they view as too soft, such as allowing girls to attend school.
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The Sun news desk?