US-led coalition forces killed five suspected Taliban militants in an operation in southern Afghanistan targeting a commander believed to be involved in the kidnapping of an Italian journalist earlier this year, the coalition said Monday.
Coalition forces tracked a vehicle carrying five men, including the senior Taliban commander, on Sunday in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province. They conducted airstrikes against the vehicle, killing all the occupants, it said in a statement.
The coalition said reports indicated the commander was also responsible for a number of mortar attacks on coalition bases and roadside bombings.
The Italian journalist, Daniele Mastrogiacomo, was freed in March in a heavily criticized swap for five Taliban prisoners. His driver and translator were killed.