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High-Ranking Taliban Official Killed In Northern Afghanistan 

Jowzjan province, Afghanistan
Jowzjan province, Afghanistan

A high-ranking Taliban official has been killed in clashes with security forces in Jowzjan province in Afghanistan's north, a local official said Saturday.

Qari Nuriddin and his four bodyguards were killed in the district of Mengajik, where the militant group has a strong presence, provincial government spokesman Abdul Maaruf Azar told RFE/RL.

Four other militants were wounded in the clashes that erupted overnight, the spokesman said.

There was no immediate comment from the Taliban.

Azar also confirmed local reports that more than 25 members of the Taliban in Mengajik had recently cut ties with the militant group to return to civilian life.

Azar told RFE/RL that all of them were young men from the Mengajik district.

Most of them had left for Iran and Turkey in search of work, Azar said. He didn't provide further details.