Afghan forces kill Taliban suspected mastermind of army base attack

KABUL: Afghan forces have killed a member of the Taliban whom Kabul says was the mastermind of a suicide car-bombing that left at least 30 security personnel dead.

Hamza Waziristani was killed in an air strike overnight in the eastern province of Ghazni, where the bomber struck an Afghan military base on November 29.

Health officials in Ghazni said 30 people died in the November 29 attack, but the Defense Ministry -- which is known to downplay tolls in attacks against its forces -- said 10 were killed.

The attack was one of the deadliest in months targeting Afghan government forces as violence has surged despite the start in September of peace talks between President Ashraf Ghani’s administration and the Taliban in Qatar.

The intra-Afghan talks are part of a February deal between the United States and the Taliban that paved the way for the withdrawal of foreign troops by May 2021.

No group has claimed the Ghazni attack, but the Taliban often does not comment on deadly attacks it is accused of carrying out.

"The mastermind behind yesterday’s terrorist attack on the (Ghazni) base was killed along with seven other terrorists," the Defense Ministry said in a statement on November 30. - Gandhara _data_reduct