15 insurgents, Taliban leader killed in Afghanistan

US Special Forces and Afghan troops called in airstrikes during a raid on a militant cell in western Afghanistan on Thursday, killing 15 insurgents while freeing 15 hostages, officials said. NATO, meanwhile, said its troops in the south have killed a senior Taliban commander, while the US-led coalition reported its forces along with Afghan security forces killed "several militants" in the same region. Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi, a Defense Ministry spokesman, said 15 militants, including two Taliban commanders, were killed during the operation in the western province of Herat. Gen. Jalandar Shah, the Afghan army's corps commander for western Afghanistan, said US Special Forces assisted Afghan troops during the operation. Humayun Azizi, head of the provincial council, said the raid targeted a militant cell in the Zerko area of Shindand district that was involved in kidnappings, roadside bombings and other attacks.