Afghan elite forces kill six al-Qaida members in Helmand province

Six members of al-Qaida were killed in an operation carried out by Afghan elite forces in Musa Qala district of Helmand province, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a statement.

Raihan, Faizani, Madani, Quraishi, Sahel, and Keramat were the al-Qaida commanders who were killed in the operation. According to statement, Raihan was the conduit between al-Qaida’s south Asia leader, Asim Umar, and the network’s top leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Faizani was the network’s commander in Helmand and he was behind terrorist activities of the network.

Those who were killed in a night raid by Afghan forces were Pakistani citizens.

The statement said that 17 Taliban militants, including Haji Mahmood who was the group’s military chief in Nawzad district of Helmand, were killed in the raid.

“14 Taliban and al-Qaida fighters were arrested during the operations,” the statement said.

The ministry had previously claimed that 22 Taliban militants were killed and 14 others wounded in the operation, a claim that was rejected by the Taliban.

The Taliban claimed the airstrike targeted two wedding ceremonies in Musa Qala, killing a large number of civilians, including women and children. The militant group claimed they have killed 18 Afghan intelligence operatives, NDS forces, in a counterattack in the district.