More than 70 Taliban leaders have been killed in a series of strikes by US Forces Afghanistan, conducted over a ten-day period, May 17-26.
Resolute Support Mission Commander, US Army General John Nicholson said:
"These strikes represent one of the largest blows to Taliban leadership in the last year... The cumulative effects of which will be felt nationwide for quite some time.”
The largest of the strikes came on May 24, when four High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) rockets destroyed a known Taliban command and control node in Musa Qal’ah during a high-level meeting of Taliban commanders.
Among the more than 50 casualties was the deputy shadow governor of Helmand, multiple Taliban district governors, intelligence commanders and key provincial-level leadership from Kandahar, Kunduz, Herat, Farah, Uruzgan and Helmand provinces.
General John Nicholson said: "National and international leaders have been clear – victory in Afghanistan will be a political reconciliation.
"As we continue the season of fighting and talking, we will continue to increase pressure on the Taliban and remain vigilant to opportunities for negotiated peace.”
In a separate airstrike on May 24, U.S. Air Force A-10s struck a Taliban Red Unit commander for Helmand and an associate while they were transiting in Sangin district.
U.S. Air Force A-10s also killed a shadow district governor and destroyed a shadow district headquarters in Nahr-e-Saraj, May 25.
On May 26, an MQ-1C Gray Eagle killed a senior improvised explosive device facilitator, who had been coordinating improvised explosive device operations against Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, international forces and the people of Afghanistan for the last 13 years.
Additionally, from May 17-26, more than 15 Taliban were killed in separate strikes around the province.