International coalition forces on Saturday confirmed that a powerful commander of the Islamist extremist group Taliban was killed by an unknown gunmen in Pakistan.
A military statement issued by coalition forces in Bagram air base near Kabul said Darim Sedgai of the so-called Haqqani network was ambushed and later died of his wounds. He was the third Haqqani network commander killed in recent months, it added.
Afghan and coalition forces killed commander Mullah Sangeen in December and Afghan National Security Forces killed Abdul Manan in October, said the statement, adding: "This recent death of Sedgai will impact the network controlled by the terrorist Siraj Haqqani."
"Siraj Haqqani will increasingly have to provide direct operational guidance rather than remaining in Pakistan," said coalition military spokesman Colonel David Anders.
"He will no longer have the luxury of hiding out while others do his fighting for him," added Anders.
Sedgai was known for facilitating smuggling of bomb-making materials into Afghanistan. Suicide attacks such as the Jan 14 attack on Kabul's Serena Hotel have become a hallmark of the Haqqani network.
"We can only call what happened at the Serena Hotel cowardly," said Anders, adding: "attacks against innocent, unarmed civilians are nothing but terrorist tactics designed to create fear and doubt. We have to call the Haqqani network what it has become, a terrorist network."