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An air strike has killed the Taliban leader said to be responsible for the deaths of three New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan.
Confirming the attack this morning, Prime Minister John Key told TV One's Breakfast programme the strike was a joint Afghan-ISAF (International Security and Assistance Force) mission.
No New Zealand personnel were involved, but the strike "almost certainly" utilised intelligence collected by the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team. He later confirmed that five or SAS staff provided support for the mission, but were not directly involved in the strike.
"So essentially New Zealand builds the picture of where these people are; it builds the case that leads to the legal support but the actual operations and the commanding of those operations are carried out by ISAF," the Prime Minister said.
Mr Key did not name the leader, whom he described as a "senior Taliban insurgent".
The NZ Defence Force later confiremed reports he was Abdullah Kalta, a Taliban leader in a district of Baghlan province who was responsible for a number of attacks in neighbouring Bamyan, where the NZ Reconstruction Team is based.
The attack took place on November 21. Four other insurgents were killed.