A soldier serving with the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has died as a result of a non-battle cause in the violence-plagued northern Afghanistan.
The NATO-led Resolute Support (RS) mission said in a statement on Wednesday that the latest death is not related to the ongoing unrest and skirmishes in the Asian country’s northern province of Kunduz, where Taliban militants have taken full control of the provincial capital city with the same name.
The takeover of the city of Kunduz, located 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of the country’s capital, Kabul, came on Monday.
NATO did not provide the name and the nationality of the soldier.
The military alliance’s so-called Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, consisting of 13,000 foreign soldiers, was launched on January 1, 2015 with the declared aim of training Afghan forces and counter-terrorism operations. It replaced NATO’s combat mission in Afghanistan, which ended its activities last December.
At least eleven service members of the Resolute Support, including eight US soldiers, have lost their lives since the beginning of the current year
Taliban shadow governor killed in Kunduz
Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), says the Taliban’s shadow governor for northern Kunduz Province has been killed in an airstrike in the troubled province.
An NDS spokesman, Haseeb Sediqim, said Maulavi Salam was killed along with 15 comrades and a member of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist group during the aerial assault on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, NATO said in a statement that the United States had carried out an airstrike against the militants in Kunduz to “eliminate a threat to Afghan and coalition forces.”
The significance of Kunduz lies in its strategic location on a crossroad that connects key regions of Afghanistan. It is also along the country’s border with Tajikistan and could offer the militants the opportunity to establish a base in the country’s north.
The northern Afghan province has been witnessing battles between security forces and militants since April. Taliban militants had attempted three times this year to take control of Kunduz.
Afghanistan is gripped by insecurity nearly 14 years after the United States and its allies attacked the country in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. Although the attack overthrew the Taliban, many areas across Afghanistan still face violence and insecurity.