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US airstrike kills key Taliban leader in Afghanistan

AFP  |  Kabul 

A senior has been killed in a US airstrike in Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday.

Abdul Manan, who was the Taliban's 'shadow governor' in the southern province, died of wounds sustained during an airstrike late on Saturday said Omar Zwak, a for the of the province.

Manan's death was also confirmed by the who in a statement described it as a "big loss" for the group but vowed that it will not affect their military operations.

-- the region that supplies the largest share of Afghanistan's opium crop -- has been the scene of bitter fighting for years with 10 out of 14 districts of the province either controlled or contested by the

As a senior Taliban leader, had led the insurgency group's expansion as it expanded control over the opium-rich province in recent years.

Afghan interior ministry said Manan was the militants' top in southern and his death as a major blow to the Taliban.

"His death will lower the moral of the enemy, and result in (the) improvement of security in and other southern provinces," told AFP.

Danish said that 32 other Taliban fighters were also killed in the airstrike.

A US force in confirmed the airstrike had killed the Taliban

"The Taliban should consider intensifying peace talks, not the fight. They're going to have trouble intensifying the fight when their fighters and leaders are under constant assault," Col. Dave said in a statement.

was on the blacklist unveiled mid-October by the Riyadh-based Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC), which imposed financial sanctions on nine individuals, including six Taliban members.

The killing of the Taliban comes despite increased efforts by the and its Western backers to put an end to the 17-year war.

US recently expressed hopes that a peace deal to end the war could be struck before the Afghan presidential election, scheduled for April.

At an international conference on in last Monday, Afghan said a 12-person negotiating team has been prepared for peace talks.

But the Taliban have rejected Ghani's overtures, calling the government in "impotent" and a "waste of time".

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, December 02 2018. 21:35 IST