Kabul : Afghan security forces killed a key commander of a group allied with the Taliban in an ambush in eastern Afghanistan, the US military said.
Mawlawi Abdul Manan was spotted this week with 12 other insurgents in Khost province while trying to enter Afghanistan from neighbouring Pakistan, the US military said in a statement late Thursday.
The Afghan forces attacked with small-arms fire in the engagement Sunday, killing several militants, including Abdul Manan, the statement added.
Manan, who was originally from the southern province of Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban movement, has been compared with the late Taliban military commander Mullah Dadullah, who was killed by Afghan and US-led coalition forces in May in neighbouring Helmand province.
“In addition to leading a large contingent of militants, Manan was also responsible for the movement of both insurgent fighters and weapons smuggling across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border,” the US military charged.
“His death will seriously hamper the enemy’s organisation and operations as there is no known successor,” the statement added.
After the fall of the Taliban regime in a US-led military campaign in late 2001, Manan joined the Haqqani group, which fought with the Taliban against the Afghan government and its international allies.
He was the commander of Haqqani fighters in the eastern provinces of Paktia, Paktika and Khost.