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Security forces kill top Taliban leader in eastern Afghanistan

An Afghan National Army soldier fires a 122mm howitzer at Taliban positions during a clearing operation in Laghman province, Nov. 4, 2014. Security forces are struggling to make decisive gains in an insurgency that shows no signs of fading.

JOSH SMITH/STARS AND STRIPES

By CARLO MUNOZ | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 14, 2015

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan security forces have killed the top Taliban leader in eastern Afghanistan’s Laghman province, the insurgent group’s sixth shadow governor to die in recent months, intelligence officials said Tuesday.

Amin Jan Kochi, the shadow governor Laghman, and 12 other Taliban militants were killed on Monday in the Achin district of neighboring Nangarhar province, about 120 miles east of Kabul, officials said.

The insurgents have a designated shadow governor for each of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. Kochi was the sixth such leader to be killed by security forces in the past two months, officials said.

“Kochi was one of the key commanders of the Taliban who was involved in several attacks against the Afghan security forces,” National Directorate of Security spokesman Hasib Sediqi said.

Monday’s raid was one of several conducted by commandos in the Achin and Ghanikhil districts of Nangarhar, he told local media on Tuesday.

Achin has traditionally been a hotbed of insurgent activity in the eastern part of Afghanistan. That activity has been increasing because of alleged efforts by the Islamic State group to make inroads into the country.

Hafiz Saeed, the purported leader of Islamic State of Khorasan, and 30 other insurgents were killed last Friday in Achin in an American drone strike.

munoz.carlo@stripes.com
Twitter: @natseccarlo

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