An air strike has killed a senior Afghan Taliban commander who twice oversaw the capture of a strategic northern city and who has been declared dead several times in the past, officials said Monday.
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”.
“He was on a journey a few days ago and stopped at a house at Dasht-e-Archi town when the drone fired missiles,” said a Taliban official.
Akhund, who had previously been reported dead several times by Afghan officials, had led the insurgents to mount several attacks in Kunduz since 2011.
A US military spokesman said an American warplane had conducted a strike in Kunduz on Sunday, but the command did “not have confirmation of the results.”
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.