Three local Taliban commanders were killed in an overnight military operation in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province, local officials said on Thursday.
Afghan Special Forces killed the three local leaders and at least 20 other militants in the operation in the southern Khogyani district, the provincial governor’s office said.
“Qari Hedayat, Qari Khalid and Ismael the three Taliban commanders are also among the dead,” and 14 people were arrested, Tolo News quoted the governor’s media office as saying in a statement.
The Taliban has confirmed that its fighters were killed in the operation, Pajhwok Afghan News reported. The group’s spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid claimed the militants killed 13 security personnel.
Nangarhar, which lies along the border with Pakistan, remains a hotbed for militants in Afghanistan. The Taliban, Islamic State (ISIS-Khorasan) and the Haqqani network are all active in districts throughout the province. The groups target both Afghan security forces and civilians, as well as foreign troops.
The NATO-led Resolute Support mission and U.S. Forces – Afghanistan intensified counter-terror operations in Nangarhar last year, carrying out dozens of airstrikes and ground operations. On January 1, U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Mihail Golan was killed in combat in the Achin district and four other troops were wounded.