Two Taliban Leaders Reported Killed in US-Led Attacks

By T.C. Malhotra | July 7, 2008 | 8:10 PM EDT

New Delhi ( - The head of the Taliban air force, Akthar Mohammad Mansour, was killed in Monday night's bomb attacks, said the Iran-based news agency IRNA.

The news agency quoted informed sources as saying that another high ranking Taliban military official, Gen. Umar Ataie, was also killed in the same raid.

These are the first high-level casualties reported in the US-led air strikes against the Taliban. But the IRNA news agency said the reports had not been confirmed by other sources.

In the first joint US-Pakistan operation against the ruling Afghan militia, Pakistan has seized three Taliban-owned gunship helicopters.

The Pakistani newspaper The News reported that Pakistan captured the gunship helicopters after US Navy surveillance aircraft detected them and asked Islamabad to seize them.

The choppers, flown by Taliban pilots, took off from unnamed airstrips in Paktia province, which borders the tribal areas in North West Frontier Province and landed at a location in Kurram. They were immediately seized by the Pakistani authorities.

The report did not mention the fate of the pilots and there was no official comment on the report.