KABUL (AFP) – Afghan military forces have killed a key commander of the ousted Taliban militia and captured another important militant in southcentral
Afghanistan, the military said.
Mullah Besmillah, a key Taliban leader in troubled south-central Uruzgan province, was killed in fighting with Afghan soldiers late Thursday when another militant, Mullah Abdul Manan, was captured, the official said on Friday.
“They were both the Taliban’s key commanders in the region — their capture will have a major impact on security,” General Muslim Hamed, the military commander in southern Afghanistan, told AFP.
The clash was part of an operation by the Afghan military, backed by coalition troops, to hunt down militants in southern and southeastern Afghanistan, plagued by a Taliban insurgency.
“Our hunt for Taliban began last week and will continue until we root them out,” the general said.
Remnants of the hardline Islamic Taliban regime ousted in a US-led operation in late 2001 have stepped up attacks on Afghan and coalition forces in the recent weeks.
Southern and eastern Afghanistan, rugged terrain along the Afghan-Pakistan border, have seen heavy clashes which have claimed dozens of lives, including of two coalition soldiers.
A US soldier was killed and another was injured Tuesday when Taliban militants attacked their unit in Uruzgan’s troubled Deh Rawood district.
A Romanian soldier was killed last week in a suspected mine blast in neighbouring Kandahar province, also hit by a wave of renewed attacks by Taliban militants.
More than 18,000 coalition troops, dominated by some 16,000 Americans, are in Afghanistan to help root out the Taliban.
The United States launched the operation to topple the Taliban after the fundamentalist regime refused to hand over Al-Qaeda leader
Osama bin Laden, architect of the September 11 attacks on Washington and New York.