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Air strike kills key Afghan Taliban commander

File photo shows Taliban militants in an undisclosed location in Afghanistan. PHOTO: AFP<br />

An air strike has killed an Afghan Taliban commander who twice oversaw the capture of a strategic northern city, officials said Monday, in a major blow to the insurgent group.

Mullah Abdul Salam Akhund, the Taliban shadow governor in Kunduz province, was killed on Sunday when he was holding a meeting in the volatile Dasht-e-Archi district.

“He was killed with five others in the house,” said provincial governor Asadullah Amarkhil.

The Taliban acknowledged the death of “the conquerer of Kunduz”, saying he was killed in a “cowardly attack by US invaders”.

The US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Akhund had led the insurgents to mount several attacks in Kunduz since 2011.

The Taliban seized the provincial capital Kunduz city for about two weeks in September 2015, in their biggest victory since they were toppled from national power by a US-led invasion in 2001.

The militants briefly overran the city again in October last year before they were beaten back by NATO-backed Afghan forces.

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