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Taliban commander killed in Afghanistan

Abdullah Jan Pashtoon, a mid-level insurgent leader and one other rebel were killed in a NATO airstrike in eastern Laghman province.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2006 18:11 IST

NATO-led forces killed a mid-level Taliban commander and another militant in Afghanistan while a civilian driver died in a rebel attack on a convoy of oil tankers, officials said on Wednesday.

Abdullah Jan Pashtoon, a mid-level insurgent leader and one other rebel were killed in a NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) airstrike in eastern Laghman province on Friday, the force said in a statement.

"Several sources of intelligence, assessed collectively, indicate that ISAF forces did indeed kill Jan Pashtoon," spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Paul Fitzpatrick said in a statement.

The statement said Pashtoon was known to have ordered roadside bombings and to have directed suicide bombings and armed attacks against Afghan and ISAF forces.

US-led forces said on Saturday they killed Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Osmani, a key Taliban leader and close associate of Osama bin Laden in southern Helmand province on December 19.

A spokesman for the Taliban militia denied that Osmani was killed and said that a low-ranking commander and three other militants were killed in that attack.

Separately, insurgents fired at oil tankers carrying fuel for a US military base in southern Afghanistan late on Tuesday, killing a driver and wounding three others, district governor Habibullah Khan told the agency.

Four fuel tankers came under automatic weapons fire in the Takhtapul district of Taliban-infested Kandahar province on the highway linking Kandahar city with the Pakistani border, Khan said.

"One driver of a fuel tanker truck was killed and three others were wounded in the Taliban attack," Khan said, adding the tankers did not catch fire.

Khan blamed the attack on remnants of the Taliban regime who were forced from power in late 2001 by a US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

A major spike in Taliban-related violence this year has claimed around 4,000 lives, most of them militants.