Top Taliban Official Killed in U.S. Airstrike, Afghanistan Says

A U.S. airstrike killed the top Taliban official in the northeastern province of Kunar and two of the group’s commanders, an Afghan intelligence official said.

Twelve other militants were also killed in the raid late Saturday near the Pakistan border, Abdul Hasib Sidiqqi, the agency’s spokesman, said by phone on Sunday. Taliban had no immediate comment.

The Afghan intelligence agency tipped off the Americans to the whereabouts of Omar Zadran and his companions, and they killed him in a strike, Sidiqqi said.

The killings could deal “a big blow” to Taliban, Ahmad Saeedi, an independent analyst on security and politics in Kabul, said by phone.

Violence rose across the country after Afghan soldiers assumed control of security duties from foreign forces last year. On Sunday, a district governor in the relatively peaceful northern Takhar province was killed after his car hit a roadside bomb. Taliban claimed responsibility.