Joint US-Afghan operation kills 2 top insurgents

A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier, left, assigned to Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan, and an Afghan National Army (ANA) commando with the 6th Special Operations Kandak scan the area for enemy activity after taking fire during a clearing operation in Khogyani district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, March 20, 2014. The ANA commandos, advised and assisted by U.S. Special Forces troops, conducted the operation to disrupt insurgent activity in the area. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Connor Mendez/Released)

KABUL, Afghanistan by Amir Shah — A joint U.S. and Afghan military operation in Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province killed two al-Qaida-linked leaders and led to the capture of a third, a government official said Thursday.

Paktika provincial governor’s spokesman Mohammad Rahman Ayaz said the battle in a remote mountainous region on the border with Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region raged throughout the night and into the day Thursday.

The two men who were killed were identified by Ayaz and militants with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan as Asad Mehsud and Gul Wali Mehsud. Jamal Mehsud was arrested. Mehsud is a tribe that lives in Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal areas.

Ayaz said the operation, which took place in Paktika’s Barmal district on the border with Pakistan, began shortly before midnight and continued until the early afternoon.

Meanwhile in Kabul, several hundred young Afghans demonstrated on Thursday, demanding the country’s president and chief executive resign because of the deteriorating security situation, particularly in the Afghan capital.

Calling their group the Uprising for Change, they briefly blocked traffic and shouted slogans demanding government officials resign.

Recent bombings have included one on Monday in which a suicide car bomb killed 24 people and wounded 42 others. On May 31, the deadliest suicide attack since the collapse of the Taliban in 2001 took place in Kabul, killing 150 people and wounding scores.

Abdul Hakim Hamraz, one of the coordinators of the rally, said that if after 20 days their demands are not met, they will set up a protest tent in the middle of the city, similar to the one erected following the May 31 bombing.

After three days the government removed the tent, but not before several protesters were killed.