Image: Afghan child wades through ruins
Paula Bronstein  /  Getty Images
A poster of presidential candidate Hafiz Mansoor has been partially destroyed by people opposing Oct. 9 elections that will give Afghans their first chance to directly elect a president.
updated 9/26/2004 5:04:35 AM ET 2004-09-26T09:04:35

Afghan security forces killed a senior Taliban commander and two of his comrades in a raid in southern Afghanistan, an official said Sunday.

Maulvi Abdul Ghaffar, reportedly a former inmate at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, died in a gunbattle Saturday night in Pishi, a village in the southern province of Uruzgan, said Jan Mohammed Khan, governor of Uruzgan.

Khan said authorities had received intelligence that Ghaffar was hiding in the village and was planning an attack on the government. Security forces surrounded then raided the house, and three men, including Ghaffar, were killed in gunfire. No one else was hurt.

The governor said Ghaffar had been a senior Taliban commander in northern Afghanistan and was arrested about two months after the U.S.-led coalition drove the militia out of power in late 2001. He spent eight months at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay before he was returned to Afghanistan.

Khan said that after release, Ghaffar was appointed as the leader of Taliban fighters in Uruzgan, a rugged region believed to be a stronghold of the hardline Islamic militia.

U.S. military officials were not immediately available for comment Sunday.

Taliban-led insurgents are active in much of southern and eastern Afghanistan and frequently launch attacks on the U.S.-backed government despite the deployment of thousands of U.S. forces to hunt them down. Officials are predicting a surge in violence before landmark presidential elections on Oct. 9.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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