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Coalition air strike kills commander of Taliban splinter group in Herat

10 Jan 2020 Salaam Times

KABUL -- A coalition air strike killed a Taliban splinter-group commander and several other fighters in Herat Province, Afghan and military sources said Thursday (January 9).

The commander, Mullah Nangialai, was killed in Shindand District, close to the border with Iran, said Jilani Farhad, a spokesman for the Herat governor.

Mullah Nangialai became known after reports of the death of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar emerged in 2015, more than two years after he had actually died.

The High Council of the Islamic Emirate, a Taliban faction led by Mullah Muhammad Rasool, split from the main Taliban group -- the Quetta Shura -- and declared itself an independent entity.

Rasool and his followers were protesting the ascension of Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansoor (killed in 2016), the predecessor of current Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada.

After the rift, Rasool appointed Nangialai shadow governor of Herat.

Coalition forces carried out the air strike, said a senior provincial police source.

US forces launched "a defensive air strike in support of Afghan forces", confirmed a spokesperson for US forces in Afghanistan.

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