French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday that Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, the head of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, who was wanted for deadly attacks on U.S. soldiers and foreign aid workers, has been killed in an operation by French troops.
Macron wrote on Twitter on early Tuesday that Al-Sahraoui was “neutralized by French forces.”
“The militant leader, Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahraoui, oversaw a group that claimed responsibility for an attack in 2017 that killed four American soldiers who were on patrol with Nigerien forces,” The New York Times reported. “And in August 2020, Mr. Al-Sahraoui personally ordered the killing of six French charity workers and their Nigerien driver.”
“This is another major success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel,” Macron said in a tweet. “The Nation is thinking this evening of all its heroes who died for France in the Sahel in the Serval and Barkhane operations, of the bereaved families, of all of its wounded. Their sacrifice is not in vain. With our African, European and American partners, we will continue this fight.”
Al-Sahraoui was previously a member of Al Qaeda’s regional branch before pledging his allegiance to the Islamic State.
The news of Al-Sahraoui’s death comes after ISIS killed 13 U.S. service members in Afghanistan in a suicide bombing outside Kabul airport, following the Biden administration’s disastrous pullout from the war-torn country.
A Fox News report on Wednesday detailed how Gen. Austin Miller, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan from 2018 through July of this year allegedly warned President Joe Biden against the withdrawal of all forces from Afghanistan and warned against reports that the Afghan military could hold off the Taliban for 1–3 years, saying they would collapse against the Taliban significantly faster.
“According to two members present for the hearing, Gen. Miller passed his recommendations through the chain of command — that the U.S. should keep a level of troops on the ground (2,500 was the number at the time) in order to maintain stability given the Taliban threat assessment,” Fox's Jacqui Heinrich wrote. “Miller’s view was troops should maintain holding pattern — potentially supplemented by [additional] forces from allied nations — given the threat. Miller shared no recommendation on how long forces should have stayed, making clear he didn’t know what the end timeline would be.”
“Miller also said that he strongly dissented with the intel assessment that Afghanistan would fall to the Taliban between 1–3 years, saying he thought it would go much, much faster,” Heinrich continued. “Miller also said once his recommendation was turned down, it became his job to execute on the withdrawal order – and eventually, decisions like abandoning Bagram were made because of constraints and troop caps imposed by the President’s orders.”