Nato kills al-Qaeda leader in Afghanistan

2012-05-30 10:59

Kabul - A homemade bomb has killed a Nato service member in the south of Afghanistan, the US-led coalition says. The coalition says the attack occurred on Wednesday but did not provide any other details.

The death raised the number of Nato troops who have been killed in Afghanistan this year to 173.

The blast occurred the day after the coalition announced it had killed al-Qaeda's second-highest leader in the country in an airstrike in eastern Kunar province.

Sakhr al-Taifi, also known as Mushtaq and Nasim, was responsible for commanding foreign insurgents in Afghanistan and directing attacks against Nato and Afghan forces, the alliance said on Tuesday.

He frequently travelled between Afghanistan and Pakistan, carrying out commands from senior al-Qaeda leadership and ferrying in weapons and fighters.

The airstrike that killed al-Taifi and another al-Qaeda militant took place on Sunday in Kunar's Watahpur district, the coalition said. A follow-on assessment of the area determined that no civilians were harmed, it said.

Nominal presence in Afghanistan

The coalition declined to reveal the name of al-Qaeda's top leader in Afghanistan "due to ongoing operations and security concerns".

The US-led invasion of Afghanistan was carried out because al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden used the country as his base to plan the 11 September 2001, attacks in New York and Washington.

Most of al-Qaeda's senior leaders are now believed to be based in Pakistan, where they fled following the US invasion. The terrorist organisation is believed to have only a nominal presence in Afghanistan.

Many senior al-Qaeda commanders have died in US drone attacks in Pakistan's northwest tribal region, and bin Laden was killed by US commandos in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad last May.

Bin Laden advised al-Qaeda militants to leave Pakistan's North and South Waziristan tribal areas because of the threat of drone attacks, according to letters seized from the compound where he was killed. The documents were later released by the US.

In one of the letters, bin Laden recommended they go to Afghanistan's Kunar province because of "its rougher terrain; too many mountains, rivers, and trees that can accommodate hundreds of brothers without being spotted by the enemy", according to the Combating Terrorism Centre at West Point, which published the documents.

Suicide bombers killed

In northern Afghanistan, Taliban fighters attacked a police post in Badakshan province on Tuesday evening, killing eight policemen, said the provincial governor's spokesman, Abdul Maruf Rasikh.

The attack in Warduj district triggered heavy fighting for three hours in which six militants were also killed, he said on Wednesday.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement sent to reporters on Tuesday by spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid.

Two would-be suicide bombers riding in a vehicle packed with explosives in eastern Nangarhar province were killed on Tuesday when the vehicle exploded prematurely, said a local government official, Shakrulla.

Three others in the vehicle were severely wounded. The explosion occurred on the main highway between Jalalabad city and Torkham, a town on the Pakistani border.

- AP
Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  nato  |  afghanistan
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