`Taliban shadow governor killed in Afghanistan`

Mawlawi Bahadur was killed on Thursday night in Chahar Dara, said police.

Kunduz: A top Taliban commander and his bodyguard were killed during an overnight operation by Afghan and NATO forces in northern Afghanistan, police said on Friday.

Mawlawi Bahadur was killed on Thursday night in Chahar Dara, a militant-plagued district of Kunduz province, provincial police spokesman Haroon Aryayenezhad said.

Bahadur was the Tailban`s shadow governor for the northern Afghan province. One of his bodyguards was also killed and four others accompanying him injured in the operation, Aryayenezhad said.

"Mullah Bahadur was appointed as Taliban Governor for Kunduz province around two months ago," he said.

"He (Bahadur) was directly responsible for organising military operations against Afghan and Coalition troops in Kunduz province," Aryayenezhad added.

ISAF confirmed that an operation "targeting people who worked closely with the Taliban shadow governor in the province" took place in Chahar Dara district on Thursday night.

The alliance said one man had been killed in the operation but would not confirm his identity.

The Taliban have been waging a nine-year insurgency which 140,000 US-led NATO troops are battling in order to hand security control to the Afghan government by 2014. The militia operates "shadow" administrations in all 34 provinces.

Taliban spokesmen were not immediately available to comment.

The security situation in the northern provinces of Kunduz and Baghlan has deteriorated over the past two years.

Hundreds of NATO and Afghan troops launched an offensive on Tuesday around the city of Kunduz as part of efforts to eliminate the Taliban from their stronghold in northern Afghanistan, Aryayenezhad said.

On December 19, two militants wearing suicide vests stormed and took control of an Afghan Army recruitment centre in Kunduz city, the provincial capital.

They were shot by Afghan and NATO troops, after a day-long siege. Four Afghan policemen and four Afghan soldiers were killed in the gun battle.

Bureau Report