BAGRAM, Afghanistan , –
The Taliban’s two top leaders in Kapisa province were killed by a U.S. strike in support of an Afghan Special Security Forces raid in the province’s Tagab district, July 22.
"I can confirm that Mullah Nasim Mushfaq, Taliban shadow governor of Kapisa, and Qari Ehsanullah, Taliban district shadow governor of Tagab, were among those killed during the conduct of an Afghan-led operation,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Martin L. O’Donnell, Resolute Support spokesperson.
Advised by U.S. Special Operations Forces, the Afghan Special Security Forces raid resulted in the death of 15 other Taliban fighters and the detention of two more.
The Afghan National Army’s 201st Corps, enabled by NATO’s Train, Advise and Assist Command-East, maneuvered forces into Tagab district to support the effort, capitalizing on the disruption to the insurgent group to engage local elders on reconciliation.
"This marks a momentous period where a group of ruthless terrorists, who were given an opportunity to reconcile but chose otherwise, were removed from the fight,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. John Brennan, Train, Advise and Assist Command-East commander. "This should bring more reconcilable Taliban members to the negotiating table as they see how every enemy of Afghanistan is brought to justice.”
The Taliban leaders were known to have coordinated or directly participated in attacks against both U.S. and Afghan forces in the province. Ehsanullah was also known to have emplaced a countless number of improvised explosive devices, endangering Afghan civilians north of Kabul, where his network carried out Taliban attacks.
The Taliban confirmed the death of its two leaders in a statement, July 23.
"Mushfaq and Ehsanullah, two Taliban irreconcilables, were impediments to peace,” said O’Donnell. "Their removal delivers a critical blow to the Taliban network in the central region of Afghanistan, and opens an opportunity for reconciliation and a peaceful settlement.”
Established in 2015, Resolute Support (RS) is a NATO-led, non-combat mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), who assumed nationwide responsibility for Afghanistan’s security following the conclusion of the previous NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission. Its purpose is to help the Afghan security forces and institutions develop the capacity to defend Afghanistan and protect its citizens in a sustainable manner.