Rocket strike kills 50 Afghan Taliban leaders, says US military

The attack on a meeting of commanders in the district of Musa Qala in Helmand, one of the heartlands of the Taliban insurgency, was a significant blow to the insurgents.

Published: 30th May 2018 01:08 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th May 2018 01:08 PM   |  A+A-

File photo of Taliban terrorists | AP

By Reuters

KABUL: More than 50 senior Taliban commanders were killed in an artillery strike on a meeting in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand, a US military spokesman said on Wednesday, as fighting continues across the country.

The attack on a meeting of commanders in the district of Musa Qala in Helmand, one of the heartlands of the Taliban insurgency, was a significant blow to the insurgents, said Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell, spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan.

"It's certainly a notable strike," he said, adding that several other senior and lower level commanders had been killed during operations over a 10-day period this month.

The Taliban dismissed the report as "propaganda" and said the attack had hit two civilian houses in Musa Qala, killing five civilians and wounding three.

"This was a civilian residential area, which had no connection with the Taliban," spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi said in a statement.

The US​ military said the May 24 meeting involved commanders from different Afghan provinces, including neighbouring Farah, where Taliban fighters briefly threatened to overrun the provincial capital this month.

"We think the meeting was to plan next steps," O'Donnell said.

While the strike by an artillery rocket system would disrupt Taliban operations, it would not necessarily mean any interruption to the fighting, he said.

Details of last week's operation emerged as fighting continued in other parts of Afghanistan, where the Taliban, aiming to restore their version of hardline Islamic law, launched their annual spring offensive last month.

In Loghar province, east of the capital Kabul, the Taliban claimed an attack on a police station in the provincial capital Pul-e Alam which killed three police and wounded 12, among them four police and eight civilians.

Shahpoor Ahmadzai, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said three attackers who sought to enter the police station in the early morning hours triggered a three-hour gunbattle that ended when all three were killed.

Elsewhere, three civilians were killed and 13 wounded by an explosion in the southern city of Kandahar that appeared to have targeted a mechanics' workshop repairing Afghan army vehicles, a spokesman for the provincial governor said.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)
TAGS
Taliban

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp