Taliban Commander Killed in Afghan Clash

Payenda Mohammed, identified by the U.S. military as “a senior Taliban commander,” was killed in fighting with U.S. troops last week.

Taliban commander killed in Afghan clash (Reuters)

U.S. forces have killed a senior Taliban commander responsible for a spate of attacks in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said on Monday. The man, identified as Payenda Mohammed, was in command of more than 150 Taliban fighters in Uruzgan province. He was killed along with three of his men in a battle last week, a U.S. military spokesman said. “He was known for conducting rocket attacks, ambushes, guerrilla-style attacks and setting up illegal checkpoints,” Colonel Jim Yonts told a briefing.

Taliban insurgents are battling the government army and about 20,000 U.S. troops across a rugged swathe of south and east Afghanistan.

In conventional warfare, someone commanding 150 troops would hardly be considered “senior.” In a guerrila-terrorist campaign, though, that’s a large unit.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Lurking Observer says:

    For a war that is being fought with insufficient troops and that we’re presumably losing (at least by the metrics of Iraq, i.e., are there still US casualties, are there car bombs, is there resistance), we seem to be killing a number of leading Taliban leaders (and co-opting others).

    Whazzup with that?

  2. DC Loser says:

    Sorta like The “Trusted Lieuetnant Watch” here:


  3. LJD says:

    Yes, so terrible getting good news. I suppose you would be skeptical if you have been getting news from sources that equate fighting the war (casualties, car bombs, etc.) with losing.

    You have been lied to. Not by the President, by the MSM.

  4. Lurking Observer says:

    Given a choice between killing a “sergeant” and a “lieutenant,” which would be more useful?

    The point here is that the “titles” assigned these people may or may not have meaning, but who they are, both in and of themselves and within the organization, does.

    In military rank, you’d think the lieutenant would matter more—but most military folks will tell you that an experienced sergeant is often far more important than any number of inexperienced lieutenants.

    Similarly, killing off experienced terrorists is enormously important, b/c it limits their ability to pass along their hard-won experienced and knowledge.

    At the end of the day, an army that has all its generals but no NCOs is likely to be less effective than one which has lost a handful of top generals and commanders but which has a growing number of experienced NCOs.