Scores of Taliban leaders 'killed' in Afghan artillery strike

Scores of Taliban leaders 'killed' in Afghan artillery strike
Afghan militants have been targeted in an artillery strike, the US has said, while the Taliban carried out an attack on government forces.
2 min read
30 May, 2018
Afghan forces are struggling to keep a lid on the insurgency [AFP-file photo]
Scores of Afghan militants have been killed in an artillery rocket strike in the country's south, the US has claimed, with the Taliban launching their own attack on government forces on Wednesday.

More than 50 Taliban commanders were killed when the rocket hit the restless Helmand province, as militants from across the country gathered for a meeting, a spokesperson for US forces in Afghanistan said.

"It's certainly a notable strike," Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell said, according to Reuters. "We think the meeting was to plan next steps."

Along with the strike on Musa Qala, other senior and junior commanders have been killed in a ten-day operation against the Taliban, the US spokesperson said.

The Taliban dismissed the report that their fighters had been killed as "propaganda", and said the shelling killed civilians.

"This was a civilian residential area, which had no connection with the Taliban," commented Taliban spokesperson Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, saying two houses were hit in the strike, killing at least five civilians.

Elsewhere in southern Afghanistan, a police station was raided when a Taliban suicide bomber struck security forces, with three gunmen storming the building.

A half-hour gun battle raged between the militants inside the police station and police, killing security forces and civilians.

"In half-an-hour security forces killed all the attackers. Unfortunately, three national police and three traffic police were also killed. Eight civilians have also been wounded," provincial police spokesman Shapoor Ahmadzai told AFP.

Reuters reported that the gunfight raged for three hours.

Earlier, a car bomb targeted a garage in the southern city of Kandahar killing three mechanics and injuring ten more people.

The Taliban have launched their annual "Spring Offensive", which usually sees a surge in militant attacks in Afghanistan.

Agencies contributed to this story.