By Zabihullah Tamanna
A U.S. drone strike has killed at least 28 suspected Taliban militants in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, officials said Wednesday.
Provincial police spokesman Colonel Hazrat Hussein Mashriqiwal told Anadolu Agency the overnight strikes targeted Taliban fighters in the province's Haska Mina district and “hopefully a Taliban commander is also among those killed in Tuesday's attack."
The strike followed a series of other operations by the U.S. in the province over the past week that have killed more than 100 fighters claiming loyalty to the Syria-based Daesh militant group, including their top two commanders and a former leader of the Pakistani Taliban.
Also on Tuesday, Afghanistan's intelligence agency the National Directorate for Security (NDS) killed 12 fighters in neighboring Laghman province and prominent Taliban commander Amin Jan Kuchi.
"Kuchi was among our prior targets. He led several operations and coordinated suicide attacks which caused death of at least one hundred civilians and military personnel in the area," said NDS spokesman Haseeb Sediqqi.
He said Kuchi was the Taliban's "shadow governor" for Laghman. The Taliban claim to be the legitimate government of Afghanistan despite their regime being toppled in 2001 and run a parallel system that includes governors and judges appointed to districts across the country.
Another Taliban shadow governor was killed along with a group of his fighters in a U.S. drone strike in Nangarhar on Sunday.