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Afghan Taliban Confirm Killing of Shadow Governor

FILE - Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers keep watch in Dand-e-Ghori district in Baghlan province on March 15, 2016, following weeks of heavy battles to recapture the area from Taliban militants.

Afghan Taliban have confirmed that Afghan security forces in a joint operation with NATO's Resolute Support (RS) forces have killed their shadow governor of Baghlan province Tuesday night.

In a statement sent to the media, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Mawlawi Lal Mohammad Mohammadi died along with four fighters in aerial bombardment in the Dand-e-Ghori area.

However, Ahmad Jawed Saleem, the spokesman of Afghan special forces said their aerial and ground operations killed 15 Taliban.

Mohammadi is not the first Taliban shadow governor killed this year.

RS and Afghan forces killed the shadow governor for Kundoz Mullah Abdul Salam in February.

The operation comes just days after the U.S. National Security Advisor Gen. H.R. McMaster's trip to the region, in which he promised continued United States support to strengthen Afghan security institutions, particularly the air force.

Still, his interview to Afghanistan's Tolo News television channel indicated that the Trump administration has not yet formalized a policy on how to move forward in Afghanistan.

"[T]he new strategy will be what the president decides it is," he said in response to a question on the issue.

Meanwhile, the top U.S.military commander in Afghanistan has said the fight with Taliban has reached a stalemate, and he has requested several thousand more U.S. troops to break it.