The Taliban have killed 14 Afghanistan soldiers and taken another 21 captive in an overnight attack in the country's western Herat province on Thursday, an Afghan official has said. Herat provincial council member Najibullah Mohebi said attackers besieged two army outposts late in the night in Herat's Shindand district.
"The fighting lasted for six hours before reinforcements arrived and repulsed the insurgents early on Friday but not before they captured 21 troops," he said.
However, the Defence Ministry's spokesman, Ghafor Ahmad Jaweed, put the number of army dead and wounded at 10. The different accounts couldn't immediately be reconciled, news agency PTI reported.
Authorities blame the Taliban, who are active in the area and have been targeting Afghan security forces throughout the country in deadly attacks every day. However, no group has taken responsibility for the assault.
Earlier, senior Taliban military commander Abdul Manan was killed in a US airstrike. Manan was the Taliban's 'shadow governor' in the southern Helmand province. Manan's death was also confirmed by the Taliban who in a statement described it as a "big loss" for the group but vowed that it will not affect their military operations. He had led the insurgency group's expansion as it expanded control over the opium-rich province in recent years.
Afghan interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said Manan was the militants' top military leader in southern Afghanistan and his death as a major blow to the Taliban.
Abdul Manan was on the blacklist unveiled mid-October by the Riyadh-based Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC), which imposed financial sanctions on nine individuals, including six Taliban members.