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Senior Taliban commander among 15 killed in Afghanistan

A senior Taliban leader was among 15 militants killed by NATO and Afghan forces in northern Afghanistan, an official said on Monday.

world Updated: Jan 10, 2011 13:41 IST

A senior Taliban leader was among 15 militants killed by NATO and Afghan forces in northern Afghanistan, an official said on Monday.

The operation was conducted in Dasht-e-Archi district of Kunduz province on Sunday night.

"Last night, 15 Taliban fighters, including a shadow district governor, were killed in a joint operation of Afghan and coalition forces," said Abdul Rahman Sayedkhili, the provincial police chief.

The district Taliban shadow governor for Khanabad district in northern Kunduz was identified as Mawlawi Zahir, according to the police chief.

Taliban insurgents have been operating "shadow" administrations in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan since the start of the US-led war in 2001 that ousted the Taliban government from Kabul.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said it had targeted a Taliban leader in Kunduz, killing more than 10 armed insurgents and detaining two suspected combatants.

"In addition to being the Khanabad district leader, the Taliban leader is also an improvised explosive device and weapons facilitator within the province who maintains ties with several senior Taliban leaders who are in Pakistan," the statement said.

They did not confirm whether the leader was among those who were killed.

NATO said assault rifles and ammunition were recovered from the scene.

Last week, combined forces reportedly killed at least two Taliban district shadow governors in Kunduz province in overnight operations.

Fighting has escalated in the relatively peaceful northern region in recent months as US forces pressure militants in the south.