KABUL – A key Taliban leader and 64 other terrorists were killed in various operations of Afghan and US forces in different provinces of Afghanistan amid ongoing talks with the militant group.
In an incident in the southern Helmand province, an airstrike, believed to be conducted by the US, killed the Taliban’s shadow governor Abdul Manan and two of his guards, according to provincial government spokesman Omar Zwak.
The death of Manan left a major loss to the banned outfit since 2016 when another top leader Akhtar Mansour was killed in a US air raid.
Manan held an influential position within the Taliban hierarchy due to his control over the drugs business in the province. He had played a key role in the Taliban’s success in Helmand against security forces.
However, there is no statement from the Taliban.
Meanwhile, the Afghan Military in the Southeast claimed that 64 militants were killed in Ghazni province during the operations.
The 203rd Thunder Corps of the Afghan Military in the Southeast in a statement said the Afghan and coalition forces carried out airstrikes in Andaar, Deh Yak, Qarabagh, and Geru districts, leaving at least 35 militants dead, reported Khama Press.
The military commission chief of the group for Deh Yak Hazrat Khalid and two other group leaders were among those killed.
In the meantime, a mini-van packed with explosives was destroyed in an airstrike of the coalition forces in Deh Yak district, the 203rd Thunder Corps said, adding that the Afghan forces also conducted operations first lane of Kabul-Kandahar highway in Qarabagh district, leaving at least 7 militants dead and 5 more wounded.
In another air strike in Paktia province, Afghan officials said that at least 10 civilians, including women and children, were killed.
Shausta Jan Ahady, a former provincial council member said that local residents took to the streets with the bodies and protested on Sunday.
On the other hand, provincial government spokesman Abdullah Hsrat claimed that the airstrike killed four insurgents, adding that a probe has been launched to check the reports pertaining to the civilian casualties.