Taliban Leaders Killed in US Operation

Taliban Leaders Killed in US Operation

The body of a militant fighter, wearing a military uniform, lies inside the Interior Ministry building after a deadly attack, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 30, 2018.

Ten assailants attacked the ministry after an explosives-laden vehicle detonated at the front gate of the compound, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish.

Shahpoor Ahmadzai, a spokesman for the Provincial Governor, said three attackers who sought to enter the police station in the early morning hours triggered a three-hour gunbattle that ended when all three were killed.

A senior police official said a auto bomb was detonated near the ministry's entrance and then a gun battle between attackers and members of the security forces broke out.

The South Asia strategy in Afghanistan has spawned intensified dialogue and a drop in Taliban violence, Army Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander of NATO's Resolute Support mission and U.S. Forces - Afghanistan, told reporters today.

The attack on a meeting of commanders in the district of Musa Qala in Helmand, one of the heartlands of the Taliban insurgency, was a significant blow to the insurgents, said Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell, spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan. The group views the Afghan government as weak, divided and unable to make decisions on big issues, including the full withdrawal of US/Nato forces, releasing their prisoners and the removal of Taliban officials' names from sanctions lists.

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The US commander in Afghanistan, Gen John Nicholson, said the talks also involved foreign governments and worldwide organisations.

The assault comes as the Taliban and a local affiliate of the IS group have launched a number of attacks in the Afghan capital in recent months, killing hundreds of people.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Khalid Safi, a spokesman for the provincial governor, says those killed were the commander of the police station and the deputy director of traffic police for Logar's capital city, Puli Alim. He said all coalition troops had been accounted for after the attack.

Provincial cities have also been hit as the Taliban, seeking to reimpose hardline rule, have stepped up fighting across the country since they announced the beginning of their annual spring offensive.

Four more police officers and eight civilians were wounded in the attack.