Air strike in Afghanistan kills senior Taliban commanders, local media reports

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - At least six senior Taliban members were wounded in a bomb blast in western Herat province

July 22, 2020

July 22, 2020

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At least six Taliban local commanders were killed on Wednesday in an air strike in Afghanistan's Herat province, local media reported.

Some reports said that as many as 40 people were killed and 30 injured, including senior Taliban commanders who had recently been released as part of peace talks with the US.

Afghan news outlet Tolo News reported that a spokesman for the local governor said that those killed included the Taliban commanders for several districts in Herat.

It said the commanders had gathered to make plans to attack government installations and Herat city at the time of the air strike.

In recent weeks, the Afghan government has released hundreds of Taliban fighters from jail in exchange for dozens of hostages held by the insurgents as a confidence measure ahead of potential inter-afghan talks to end the long-running war.

The long-delayed dialogue is part of a landmark deal between the US and the Taliban agreed in February and aimed at ending nearly two decades of war in Afghanistan, the US's longest.

The peace talks are tied to a successful conclusion of the ongoing prisoner swap, with talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban due to follow.

The US and Nato allies agreed to withdraw all troops within 14 months if the militant group upholds the deal.

Local residents told Tolo that at least eight civilians were killed and around 20 others wounded in the attack, including women and children, which they say hit a wedding party.

The Taliban said in a statement that civilians have been killed in the attack.

It came amid a number of other violent incidents in the country, which continues to see high levels of violence against civilians. In the first nine months of 2019 alone, at least 2,563 civilians were killed and 5,676 wounded.

Updated: July 22, 2020 08:04 PM

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