NATO and Afghan officials say the Taleban's top military commander, Mullah Dadullah, has been killed in Southern Afghanistan. From Islamabad, VOA correspondent Benjamin Sand reports the death is a major setback for the five-year old Taleban insurgency.
NATO officials confirmed Mullah Dadullah's death Sunday.
In a brief written statement NATO says the Taleban commander was killed in a U.S.-led coalition operation and called his death "a serious blow" to the insurgency.
Saeed Ansari, spokesman for the Afghan intelligence agency, says Mullah Dadullah was killed Saturday night in Helmand province.
Ansari says Dadullah was killed during a military operation, and his body has been moved to neighboring Kandahar province.
Kandahar Governor Asadullah Khalid reportedly showed Dadullah's remains to several local journalists.
Many of them had interviewed the one-legged Taleban commander in the past, and they say the body did appear to be his.
Dadullah was the insurgency's top military leader, and was widely regarded as one of the militant group's most capable and most ruthless commanders.
He was a key member of the Taleban's ruling council when the hard-line Islamist group led Afghanistan in the late 1990's, and he has helped direct a bloody insurgency since U.S.-led forces ousted the Taleban in 2001.
He would have played a major role in Taleban's recent campaign of suicide bombings, beheadings, and the kidnapping of foreign journalists and aid workers, along with the Afghan nationals who work with them.
He was also one of the Taleban's best known spokesmen, and was often interviewed by foreign journalists.
His death is considered a blow to the insurgency, and a major victory for Afghan and international forces.