Coalition air strike kills commander of Taliban splinter group in Herat



A screenshot from a Salaam Times video shows Taliban fighters under Mullah Manan Niazi, deputy commander of a Taliban splinter group, in an undisclosed location in Herat Province on November 10, 2018. Mullah Nangialai, a commander of the group, was killed in Herat Province, said officials on January 9. [File]

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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I think killing of Mullah Nangialai was a mistake, because he belonged to Mula Rasool group, a Taliban splinter group which fights against both the main Taliban group that is supported by Pakistan, Iran and Russia, and the foreign forces. This seceded group of the Taliban always calls the main Taliban group in media as being poppet of Pakistan, and accuses it for killing Afghan civilians and Afghan National Security Forces. The group of Mullah Rasool only fights against the foreign forces in Afghanistan. There are very honest and patriotic people among the group who want a free and independent Afghanistan which should not be under the influence of any alien country. This splinter group of Taliban, in the areas under their control, has protected and ensured security of public works' projects such as construction of water and electricity dams, roads, and other projects which are for the benefits of the people and the country.