The Taliban commander of its so-called “special forces” branch, known as the “Red Unit,” has been killed by Afghan forces, according to Afghanistan’s main intelligence agency.
In a statement on December 3, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said Mullah Shah Wali, also known as Mullah Naser, was killed in an air operation in Helmand Province last week.
The province is a Taliban stronghold in the heartland of Afghanistan’s lucrative drug trade.
Wali became the commander of the Taliban’s “Red Unit” as well as deputy shadow governor of Helmand Province three years ago and was directly involved in Taliban offensives, the statement said.
The Red Unit is thought to be equipped with advanced weapons, including night vision scopes, 82-millimeter rockets, heavy machine guns, and U.S.-made assault rifles, according to the Afghan military.
Two other Taliban commanders and an alleged would-be suicide bomber were killed alongside Wali during the operation in Helmand’s Musa Qala district, according to the NDS statement.
Elsewhere, Afghan officials say at least five people have been killed in what they said was a motorcycle suicide bomb attack.
A spokesman for the governor of eastern Nangarhar Province said eight people were wounded in the attack on December 3 outside a soccer stadium in the provincial capital of Jalalabad.
Attahullah Khogyani said the explosion occurred after a pro-government rally at the stadium, which had been packed with supporters of the government.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
On December 2, two intelligence service members, including the director of the Jalalabad intelligence unit, were killed in multiple bomb attacks by alleged Islamic States militants in Jalalabad.
Ten people, including soldiers and civilians, were injured in the back-to-back explosions near a private radio and TV station.
A local affiliate of the Islamic State extremist group is seeking to expand its influence in Afghanistan.