Taleban Commander Killed in Afghanistan
The Taleban's top leader in Afghanistan is reported as killed. The actual effect that this will have on the Taleban's ongoing campaign is as yet unclear.
The Taleban's top military commander in Afghanistan, Mullah Dadullah, has been killed in fighting in the south.
His body was shown to reporters in Kandahar, and Taleban sources confirmed the death, after initial denials.
Nato said Dadullah died in a clash with Afghan and Western forces in Helmand province.
Mullah Dadullah "will most certainly be replaced in time but the insurgency has received a serious blow" the Nato-led security assistance force (Isaf) said.
Isaf and Afghan troops have been engaged in a major operation in Helmand province since early March.
But the Taleban commander was killed in an operation by the separate US-led coalition supported by Isaf, news agency AFP said.
Mullah Dadullah's name has been linked with the beheading of suspected spies, controlling the guerrilla war in Helmand Province, dispatching suicide bombers and the kidnapping of Westerners, including an Italian journalist and two French aid workers, both of whom have since been released.
Mullah Dadullah recently told the BBC that he had hundreds of suicide bombers awaiting his orders to launch an offensive against foreign troops.
The BBC's Afghanistan correspondent, Alastair Leithead, says the commander has produced videos showing beheadings of foreign hostages.
Previous reports of his death or capture had proved untrue, but officials displayed the body to confirm the killing.
For many years Mullah Dadullah has been known to be one of the most brutal and extreme Taleban leaders.