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Senior Taliban Commander Killed In Northern Afghanistan

Kunduz in October 2016
Kunduz in October 2016

Afghan officials and the Taliban say a senior commander of the militant group has been killed in northern Afghanistan.

Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on February 27 that Mullah Abdul Salam Akhund was killed in a "special operation." He gave no details.

Defense Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said Akhund was killed along with nine other Taliban militants.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed Akhund's death in a statement, saying he was killed by a U.S. air strike in the Dashti-e-Archi district in the northern province of Kunduz.

Akhund, the commander of Taliban forces in the northern province of Kunduz, had been declared dead several times in the past only to reappear.

A U.S. military spokesman told Reuters that an American warplane had conducted an air strike in Kunduz on February 26 but said there was "no confirmation of the results."

Taliban militants have briefly seized control of the provincial capital, Kunduz City, for two consecutive years, in a major embarrassment to the Kabul government.

Akhund's death is a blow to the Taliban as the militants prepare their annual spring offensive against government forces.

With reporting by Reuters