Operations in Afghanistan's Ghazni, Paktia, and Zabul provinces led to US -backed Afghan Special Security Forces killing Khetab, the second-in-command of the Afghanistan-Pakistan-based AQIS wing of al-Qaeda, and multiple other members of the terrorist group on December 4.
"Mullah Shah Wali, aka Haji Nasir, commander of the Red Unit in Helmand, was killed on 1 December by a strike, with one of his deputies and three of his men". The Taliban's Red Unit is tasked with conducting suicide missions and planting improvised explosive devices.
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Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) said in a statement that Khetab was among 81 al-Qaida and Taliban members killed during recent joint Afghan and coalition operations.
The US also announced the death of the leader of the "Red Unit" - the Taliban's "special forces" in Helmand, a southern province where insurgents control ten of its 14 districts. Wali's job in particular was to supply the Taliban with arms in Helmand Province, a main base of operations for the Taliban. "USFOR-A and our Afghan partners will continue to aggressively target Taliban leaders to destroy their drug network, disrupt their communications, and deny them safe haven".
The Taliban in Helmand Province are a responsible for the poppy cultivation and opium trade that funds Taliban anti-government agenda.
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The operations that killed the Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders along with other jihadists "are proof our strategy is working", added Nicholson, alluding to U.S. President Donald Trump's South Asia strategy.
The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said the alliance supports the recent message of the NATO and U.S. forces commander General John Nicholson to the Taliban to "reconcile or die". Khetab is known as the second most senior leader of al-Qaida on the Indian Subcontinent.
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